Paul Hurrion: Biomechanics of Putting
Paul Hurrion is a Biomechanics expert from England that specialises in putting, he is Padraig Harrington's long time putting coach as well as coaching Rory Macilroy for a number of years and many other tour players.
In 2008 I took a course in the biomechanics of putting and spent two days with him learning his thoughts on putting. Even though today I would teach a slightly different style to what I learnt that day he had a vast knowledge on the subject and many thoughts that would certainly help any player improve their putting.
In this blog I am going to share with you the key points from my notes which I still use today when assessing and helping a player to improve their putting. I haven't listed all the requirements but hopefully the points I have decided to highlight will give you a few new ideas on what the best putters work on in their stroke.
Setup Position Down the Line
If you can get in the right position to start with putting becomes a lot easier. In the image below Paul Hurrion explains some of his key thoughts regarding setup.
In order for the shoulders to rotate on the correct plane it is important that the top of the shoulders and neck create a straight line. This will promote the shoulders to work more up and down and less around creating a simple slightly arcing stroke.
Linked to this your face should be near to parallel with the ground and the nose pointing straight down. This allows the putt to be viewed correctly from above and to aim the putter accurately.
Should the eyes be directly over the ball?
It is commonly taught that the lead or front eye should be directly over the ball. I don't think this is far off the mark but there is just a little bit more too it than that. All players are actually a little different the key is to find where your ideal position is. Some will putt better with the ball a little inside the eye line and other a little outside.
In order to test where the best position for you is place 6 balls in a straight line with a few cm gap in between each ball. Now setup to the first ball in your normal putting position and look up the line of balls. You may be surprised when you look up the line of balls that they create a slight curve. This means that you need to adjust your eye line to either more inside the ball or more outside. Once you have found the correct position the balls will create a straight line allowing for better perception and balance.
How to find the correct grip pressure when putting
Hold the putter with your usual putting grip and then lift it so it is now parallel with ground. Slowly relax your grip until the toe or end of the club starts to drop at the point the putter head starts to fall this is the ideal grip pressure.
Take the putter back and through the same distance
It is important to take the putter back and through the same distance according to Hurrion.If we take the putter back too far in the backswing and then shorten the follow through we will we tend to decelerate through putt. If the follow through gets much longer than the backswing we will then end up accelerating too much through the putt. A balanced stroke in terms of length allows the acceleration of the putter to be controlled making centre contact, speed and face control more consistent.