As long as there’s smooth ground leading up to the fringe, putting from off the green makes great sense. Martin Kaymer did it a lot in winning the US Open at Pinehurst last year. A good rule is to treat these putts like they’re 10 to 15 per cent longer than they really are to compensate for starting off the green. Follow these steps to put a good stroke on it.
1. TAKE YOUR REGULAR GRIP
You’ll have much more power for this shot if you grip the club the way do on your full swing. You’ll naturally put some wrist action into the strike, which
will help you get the ball to the hole.
2. STAND TALL AT ADDRESS
You’re going to need more room for your hands and arms to make a bigger stroke than normal, so stand more upright. If you’re hunched over, you’ll struggle to swing the putter freely.
3. DON’T JAB AT THE BALL
The common mistake when putting from off the green is to try to hit the ball harder with a short, jabby stroke. Swing back longer, and let the flow and acceleration of the putterhead feel natural. Don’t force it.
4. USE YOUR LOWER BODY
Let your hips and knees move a little towards the target, especially your back knee kicking in. This helps generate more energy so you don’t have to try to muscle the ball with your hands.
David Leadbetter is a Golf Digest Teaching Professional.