Are You An SBST?
Are you an SBST?
Well that’s not an abbreviation to infer any malice, but is does describe if you use a “straight back-straight thru” putting stroke. And incidentally, I hope you are NOT an SBST! Well, what are the options if I am an SBST and want to change?
Here is the other option. You can employ an ARC style putting stroke. ARC is not an acronym for anything, but it could stand for “Always Reach for Consistency.” I believe that an ARC style putting stroke produces a more consistently square putter face at impact than SBST because there are fewer moving parts in the stroke. Everyone wants to be more consistent with the roll of their ball on the green and SBST requires your arms and hands to act independently during the stroke. The SBST stroke requires your arms to go SBST which is not a natural body movement pattern. Also, the SBST stroke requires that you keep the face angle square to the target line through its entirety. This again is not a natural movement pattern as it requires your wrists to cup and bow at certain times throughout the stroke. The arc stroke requires you only to keep your arms attached to the side of your body and to rotate your shoulders just as with any short game shot. This is a natural body movement pattern and is easily repeatable especially under pressure. Why force yourself to learn a completely different stroke for putting when the arc style stroke works for chipping and pitching and also putting?
The photo above shows two training aids for putting. “The Putting Arc” on the right is an ARC style training aid. Watch the first 3:12 of the video to see how tour pros practice to learn and maintain a perfect arc style stroke. With an ARC stroke, I recommend that you set up close enough to the ball so your eyes are over the heel of the putter. Also, always start with the putter face in the middle of your stance, therefore the ball is slightly forward of center. Remember, setting up with the putter face in the center of your stance is the only time in the stroke where the putter face is square to the target line. You do not lean on the target side leg, nor do you need to press your hands forward.
Many tour players are incorporating an arc style stroke including Zach Johnson. Watch this “Direction Drill” to work on starting your ball on the correct line. You have to be able to roll the ball straight before you can even think of trying this drill. Good Luck!