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Should You Forward Press in Putting?

Many players use a forward press in their putting stroke. A good example is Phil Mickelson. Phil has a forward press but the loft on his putter is set up so at impact the club delivers 3 degrees of loft.


The average putter that you purchase in your Pro Shop at your club or at your local retailer has a average loft of 3 degrees. The reason for this is the ball sits down into the green in a small depression. The 3 degrees of loft help lift the ball and get it rolling. So if your putter has 3 degrees of loft and you use a forward press then you will be deliver the putter head at 1 degrees or even worse 0 degrees. This will make the ball have more skid and or bounce and less roll. This will knock putts off line and also effectively destroy distance control. The side by side photos above show a standard hand position and a forward press. If you feel more comfortable using a forward press it is time to get the loft on your putter checked. If it is 3 degrees then you want to add loft until you are delivering the putter at the optimum 3 degrees at Impact. This can be checked using a SAM Putt unit which will measure loft at Impact. If not you will struggle with putting are not truly Putt to your potential. Phil Mickelson’s putter has 7 degrees of loft to compensate for a 4 degree natural forward press. For the time being see if you can putt without a forward press and check to see your results. Adding some loft to your stroke will also help change the loft at Impact. Experiment with trying both. First no forward press, then a slight forward press with more lift so the putter rises after impact. At first it will be hard to do because it is different from what you are use to. But for fun give it a try. If you feel you need to stick with your own stroke then have the loft adjusted to get the best results. Below is a photo showing loft and rise on SAM Putt. Many Putters have a offset hosel like the one shown below that get your hands ahead of the club head already without adding forward press.

If this is the type of putter you are using then you definitely want to give this a try. Remember it is sometimes the stroke but it is also sometimes the equipment that can affect your game. It is well worth the time to investigate to find out for sure. If we can improve our impact then it is always worth it in the long run.

To take a lesson in person with Bernard Sheridan call 215-518-0435 for pricing and details.

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