Don’t break your wrists
The biggest fault people make with their putting is that they break their wrists. This means you can miss it left or right. You can put top-spin on the ball and shoot past the hole, or you can make the ball jump at impact. By flicking your wrists, you don’t get any consistency over the control of the ball.
I try to create a sort of imaginary triangle when I’m putting. I want to keep my left wrist very firm and have the feeling of keeping my elbows and my hands working as one unit. Try and feel as though the back of your left wrist is going towards the target.
Never create an angle between your left forearm and the back of your left hand. Try and keep that as one straight line going towards your target. If you start hinging, chances are you’ll miss putts.
Bin your one-club mentality
From experience, people tend to go to their ‘go to’ club. They’ll think most of their shots should be played with their sand iron, or their favourite wedge. When you’re around the green you need to assess the lie and what you’ve got between your ball and the target.
I like to visualise where I see my ball landing and that always dictates what club I’m going to select. When I’ve got the club in my hand, I might walk a little closer to my landing area and see what lies ahead. Changes I would make would be ball position between middle and front. I like to have a little bit more pressure on my left knee.
Through the hitting area, you want to keep the clubface square to the target. There’s not really much release going on in the hands. Again, I’m keeping my left side - hands, clubs and arm - in a straight line to the target, nice and firm, with a bit of acceleration.
Avoid a big wrist hinge
This is the shot you’ll face if you’ve come up short on a par-4 and you need to get it close to save par. Alternatively, it might be a par-5 and you want to get it close for a birdie. People, though, get chipping and pitching confused. They often think they have to use significanty more wrist hinge when they pitch, as if it’s some kind of trick shot.
I always think that excessive wrist hinge costs you consistency. To get more control over my shots from 50 to 60 yards, I like to keep everything together. On the backswing, keep the ‘V’ from the shoulder to your hands back to waist height and stay nice and firm into impact.
Your wrists should be leading through the impact area and post impact. It might feel wooden but what you’re doing is increasing your chances of hitting it a consistent distance.
Hovering in the bunker
I always find that amateurs are fearful of taking enough sand. But the biggest problem is that they don’t sink themselves into the sand and, as such, don’t give themselves a solid enough base initially. They tend to hover on top of the sand.
Whenever I’m in a bunker, my routine is always the same. I sink my feet two to three inches into the sand and I widen my stance a little. Sinking your feet, incidentally, allows you to get your club under the ball better.
If you stand on the sand and don’t sink in, chances are you won’t take enough sand and you’ll likely skull it through the green. With that base and stance, you’ll hit that sand through impact. Too many amateurs focus on hitting their ball out the bunker and not the sand.
Andy Carlton is the Head PGA Professional at Paisley Golf Club. For lessons, call Andy on 0141 884 4114. Follow him on Twitter @PaisleyPro.