For the sake of simplicity, all advice on swings and drills is provided from a right handed perspective; lefties …. well, you know what to do!
Callaway will be selling Odyssey “Armlock” putters in the very near future. Odyssey Golf developed this product as a result of the proposed anchoring ban.
Here’s a press release that I read late last year: “CARLSBAD, Calif., November 30, 2012 Odyssey, the #1 Putter in Golf, today announced the upcoming release of the new Metal-X Arm Lock Putters. Just days after the sports’ ruling bodies – the USGA and the R&A – proposed a ban on the anchoring method of putting, Odyssey introduces a product line that both conforms to the anticipated ruling and offers an alternative method of stabilizing the putter through a natural – feeling extension of the golfer’s arm.”
Matt Kuchar has been using a belly length putter in this manner very successfully for a few years now.
The question I ask myself is this question “why the heck didn’t I think of that name?”
I have been teaching this grip and putting style as an alternative to traditional putting for years. It benefits certain students because: it provides a solution for those students that have a tendency to have wrist breakdown through the stroke (flipping the club) and the length of the putter provides a very steady base for choking down and executing a straight back and through pendulum stroke for short putts There is one interesting twist to the putter that Odyssey will be offering – it has an adjusted forward lean shaft angle and more loft.
According to information I saw on GolfSpy, the shaft is bent 4 degrees forward toward a golfer’s lead arm, which allows the putter handle to be anchored against the inside of a golfer’s forearm with the ball positioned in the center of your stance.
To negate the effects of the forward shaft lean produced by this setup, Arm Lock putter heads are made with 7 degrees of loft, which then gives the putter an actual playing loft of 3 degrees, all things considered.
Here’s a photo: Odyssey Armlock Putter
That’s all well and good, and also unnecessary – maybe even detrimental. I say that because with a lot of forward shaft lean with a long putter, I believe you can chunk a putt if it’s placed in the center of your stance. It’s pretty easy to hit down on your stroke with this setup, so I recommend other adjustments to insure against that problem.
You don’t need a putter tweaked with a forward lean shaft angle and more loft in the head.
If you take a stock belly length putter with a long grip – not a split grip – then grip it where you would as if it were a normal length putter and run the shaft up your forward forearm – an “Armlock” grip – you can execute an excellent stroke that puts a great roll on the ball, as long as the rest of your setup is correct.
Here’s the setup and stroke path I recommend for medium to long putts with a belly length putter and an “Armlock” grip : fairly tall posture slightly open stance – including shoulders, hips, and feet weight a little bit forward ball positioned well forward left arm and shaft form a straight line to the shoulder, with a minute amount of forward shaft lean left wrist straight right wrist slightly cupped stroke path – slightly inside to down the line shoulder motion pendulum stroke, no wrist movement at all Here’s the setup and stroke path I recommend for very short putts with a belly length putter and an “Armlock” grip : posture is more bent over square stance weight forward ball positioned forward left arm and shaft form a straight line to the shoulder with a minute amount of forward shaft lean hands are slid down the shaft, you’re choking down on the grip left wrist straight right wrist slightly cupped stroke path – precisely straight back and straight through shoulder motion pendulum stroke, no wrist movement at all Very short putts for me are putts that are 4 feet or closer to the hole.
The “fitted” length for a putter using the “Armlock” grip is easy to measure. Just set up as I’ve described for medium to long putts, then measure the distance from the butt end of your current traditional length putter to your elbow. That length, or even a bit shorter will work well for you if you want to try “Armlock Putting”.
You should be able to go to your favorite sporting goods store and find a belly length putter that will fit well right off the shelf.
You can also extend the length of a traditional length putter several inches, add a long, belly putter grip, and you’ll be good to go.
Swingweight will not be an issue, but the overall weight of the putter needs to feel right to you. Heavier putter heads usually satisfy this need, which is why belly length and broomhandle length putter heads are generally made heavier than traditional length putter heads.
As I said earlier – why the heck didn’t I think of that name? Darn ….
If you want instruction for this method of putting, give me a call. It’s really a great way to putt – especially is you have a “wristy” stroke.
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