Getting a solid putter release is key to making successful shots on the green and has been a focus of PGA professionals for years, especially the likes of Steve Stricker and Tiger Woods.
Most people start thinking about the putter releasing as the club passes the hands but that’s really not what happens.
If everything is working together as a true pendulum the putter is going to naturally pass your hands and the toe is going to release or turn over a little, but it’s not a manipulation like turning the forearms over or flipping the hands.
Improving Putter Release
To feel this proper release first focus on getting the club to hang a little better because most people hold the club up in the air and create too much angle. Steve Stricker goes to the extent that his putter head is sitting so the toe is down on the ground – that gets his hands quite a bit higher so now the clubhead (and the weight of the club) is hanging underneath the hands and can now swing and release. If your hands are low with the club held up in the air, you have to flip or manipulate the club and it can’t really release.
The best way to get this feeling of the club hanging is before even bending over to the ball, take your grip into the palms a bit more and as you’re standing let the club hang so the wrists almost bow out a little. Then swing back and forth a few times and you’ll be able to feel the club swinging, and the weight of the club almost going past your hands. Once you’ve got your wrists out and the club hanging you can go ahead and start taking some strokes, focusing on letting the putter release with your forearms rather than actively flipping the club.
A Technique to Practice Putter Release
To really feel the weight of the club swing take some putts using only your thumb and forefinger; as you’re setting up your grip keep your thumb and forefinger on the club and keep your palm in contact as normal, but open up the other three fingers (on both hands) and start swinging your forearms back and forth. You’ll start feeling that your forearms, the shaft, everything has to move at the same point, but because you’re not controlling the putter the toe of the club will release just a little bit.
This is a great exercise to improve your putter release. Remember thumb and forefinger only, three fingers off, and swing back and forth getting the shaft and your forearms to work together. By doing this you’ll start seeing the toe of the club releasing because of the arc, not because you’re flipping the club over.
So to recap; the key to a solid putter release is using the weight of the club and your forearms only, don’t force it by flipping your hands or rotating your arms through the ball.
If you’re still having trouble feeling your putting stroke, have you tried using an alternative grip when putting?