The Pop Putting Stroke

Some time ago, it might have been in the early 2000s, The Golf Channel showed old All-Star Golf episodes after hours.

These were matches filmed from the late 1950s to the early 1960s featuring two Tour pros in an 18-hole stoke play competition. The winner got $2,000 and the loser $1,000. Back then that was good money and they got everybody to appear.

I taped a lot of them.

There was one match with Bob Rosburg, who was recognized as one of the best putters of his time. He had something of a pop putting stroke, and was very good at it.

Since I’m wiling to try anything, I tried it out, had some fun with it, and forgot about it. But I came back to it recently.

My version of the stroke is to take the club back only a very short distance, two inches, and give the ball a firm rap. There isn’t much of a follow-through.

I make the stroke with my hands, but I have to be careful to make it a controlled stroke and not a quick stab or a jab.

Because the stroke is so short, all the power comes from the pop you give to the ball with the right hand (lefties, it would be your left hand). Most of your practice with this stoke is in learning how to make a smooth hit.

The major benefit of this stroke is that the backswing is so short that the face of the club never gets out of square. There’s no “swinging door” that has to get itself back to square at just the right moment. Performed correctly, the ball goes where you aimed the face, guaranteed.

The pop stroke works great in my back room on the deck carpet, and it works great on the course. The ball runs right to the hole and falls in. A lot.

I use it for makeable putts, of no more than about twelve feet, where direction is paramount. Longer than that, getting the distance right takes over so I switch to a normal sweeping stroke because it controls distance better than a quick pop.

So this is something for you to play with, something different to try. Can’t hurt, might help.

2 thoughts on “The Pop Putting Stroke”

  1. Good tip, Bob. Works well for tour pro Brandt Snedeker! I have, as most golfers do, an arc in my stroke (a reason to have a toe-balanced putter instead of a face-balanced putter, by the way, which is another potential tip for your readers).

    But, as an “am,” my arc is inconsistent, especially with different length putts. I’m going to try the “pop” stroke on 12 feet and in, as you suggest. On longer ones, I have to try to do a better job of creating a consistent arc, back and through, in the putting stroke.

  2. Have gone back to this (at the moment!!!) and found in contrast I can judge distance putting really well in practice with right hand only pop putts, uncannily successful, but found 4 foot consistency still a challenge!! Work in progress but with a light blade putter get really good contact.

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