The Forward Press in Putting: Is it a fit for your Stroke?

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One of the fastest ways you can improve your game is to gain confidence on the greens. 

It’s much easier and faster to overhaul or upgrade your putting than it is your full swing. With putting, you don’t have to wait months for your swing changes to finally pay off. This is why I think it’s vital for players to hone their short game sooner rather than later.

Confidence is the key to putting.

Just look at some of the best players ever and you can tell they don’t have much in common with putting. They all have different types of putters and different postures.  

One thing they all have in common is the forward press in their putting routine. Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, and Jordan Spieth both use this motion to trigger the start of their putting strokes. 

Chances are, you’ve asked yourself if you should do the same. Today, we’ll break down the benefits, how to forward press correctly, and what to avoid to start rolling the rock better. 

Make sure you check out the putting tutorial before you dive in. It will teach you the basics of putting. How to putt here

Forward Press Your Putter Head

First, what is forward pressure in putting anyway?

Forward press is when the handle is moved slightly ahead to initiate your putting stroke. This motion acts as a trigger for your putting stroke. Keep your hands moving in a good tempo towards the target line by using this motion.

It can have a huge impact on your rhythm if done correctly. Speed control. This can be a huge help to the vast majority of golfers, according to Dave Stockton, Jack Nicklaus, and Rory McIlroy.

Phil Mickelson, a Golf Digest interviewee, also spoke about why he likes to push the putter forward in a Golf Digest interview. “By nudging your hands toward the target a couple of inches before starting your takeaway, you’ll find it easier to return at impact with your hands ahead of the ball — a real key to maintaining the ideal amount of clubface loft and making the ball roll smoothly.” 


But there’s a catch… when you forward press the putter head, you also remove some loft.

If you forward press too much with the putter shaft, it can have a negative effect as your putter won’t have enough loft. A little bit of forward press is good but more doesn’t equal better.

Let’s explain each of these concepts further.

Acts as a Trigger

Forward pressing has the advantage of giving you a subtle trigger to begin your putting motion. Some golfers stand on the green for hours, unable to move and freeze. This will not help your putting or golf game. 

I’ve found the less time you stand over the ball (especially on the greens), the better. Spending too much time looking at the ball can lead to more swing thoughts and more time for doubt.

You can speed up your routine by using a forward press. This will allow you to not let negative thoughts affect the quality of your putting. This alone is a reason why many players notice a significant improvement in their game.

Eliminate Wrist Movement 

A forward press motion can also be beneficial because it reduces wrist movement. When putting, you want to have very little wrist movement. Instead, you want your arms/shoulders to be in one unit. You don’t want “flippy” wrists as it will make speed control nearly impossible. 

Golfers who have too much wrist movement tend not to put enough weight on their putter and to hit the ball hard at impact. A lot of average golfers have trouble with their lead hands wrist angle. This causes inconsistent spin and can cause the ball to bounce off the ground or fall short of the hole. 

A forward motion can create a smoother position and reduce the ball skidding on the greens. This motion elevates the putter and can help improve your impact position. Without adjusting your stroke. 

Downside = Delofting The Putter 

While there are a lot of benefits to forward press, it’s important to remember that it does remove loft from your putter. Most putters have 3-5 degree loft. The more you press forward, the more loft youll lose. 

According to Phil Mickelson (in this YouTube video, “At impact, we want to have four degrees of loft (give or take a half degree for an optimal roll. What is the ideal roll? An optimum role is when the ball starts off with the equator and starts turning over.”

You will drive the ball into ground with your forward stroke if you have less loft than four degrees. This will cause the golf ball bounce and not roll smooth on the green, making it almost impossible to hole longer putts.

The ball will also jump off the face if it has more than four degrees loft. It will also have backspin, before it begins to roll on the green.

For better contact with each roll, it is important to know how to press the putter head.


How to Forward Press 

A forward press motion in the putt stroke has many benefits. But the key is to make sure that you don’t over do it and remove too much loft in the process. 

Check out the Putter Static Loft

First, check your putter loft. Each club is different. Online or by a clubfitter, you can verify the condition of your putter loft. This is even more important if you bought the club used and aren’t sure on the specifications. 

A forward press motion can cause a putter with a low loft to actually hinder your performance. Have your putter checked to see if it is necessary to forward press or adjust the loft to accommodate a forward motion. 

Putting Ball Position 

The second consideration is the ball position in your putting stance.

Phil Mickelson explains how different ball positions can affect your putting in the same YouTube video. He prefers to hit the ball slightly higher by playing the ball off his frontfoot.

While it’s generally recommended to have the ball in the front-center of your stance, there are more ways to putt well. Phil says that you can adjust your hand position to get the right loft at impact. 

You will need more loft on your putter if you like to play the ball back in stance. Or, you can putt with your hands behind (this is the opposite from a forward push). 

If you prefer to play the ball forward of your front foot, you will need less loft or move your hands forward at address. 

Get moving 

Give it a shot if your putter position and ball position match up to a forward pressing. Remember, less is more when it comes to a forward motion and don’t overdo it (or you can have negative loft).

To test it, place it on the practice green at address to see how it affects you roll. It will likely give you confidence with all types putts.

FAQs about Putting   

Are you interested in learning more about how to be a better putting player? Keep reading to learn more about the best putting techniques.

Is forward pressing necessary to expose the putters face?

A forward press can open the face if you don’t press it directly ahead of you toward the start line. If you don’t have enough grip pressure with your right hand (for right-handed golfers), it can open the face. 

What does a forward presses do in golf?

The forward press slightly lifts the putter and gives you mental trigger to start your putting stroke. It can be used with any grip (cross-handed, claw grip, conventional, cross handed, prayer putting grip, etc.). Some of the best players in the world use it. 

Should you put your hands forward or back? Is it good to press your hands forward when putting?

Forward pressing can be very beneficial for many golfers. Although not all professional golfers use this strategy, many do. They can help you for many reasons. 

What is a forward presses? 

A forward press is a simple way to begin your putting stroke. It doesn’t require any training aids or golf gadgets to get started. Simply move your putter towards the front and let it slide forward. Then, start your putting stroke. 

How do I grip a putting rod?

There are many ways to grip a putter, including the claw, conventional, left-hand low (cross-handed), and the claw. Learn more about each style to help you putt better. putting grip encyclopedia

Whatever grip style you use make sure that your grip pressure is consistent. Golfers are prone to changing the grip pressure.

As Greg Norman said, “Most players – even most Tour pros – loosen their grip on the club after their practice stroke, then regrip as they settle in for the actual stroke. I think that’s a bad idea. From the time I take my practice stroke to the time I hit the ball, my hands do not budge on the club.” 

Jordan Spieth practices putting. 

Jordan Spieth is a great putter. He has an uncanny ability to make putts when he needs them most – specifically from mid-range when the odds are against him.

How does Jordan improve his putting? 

Here’s what his coach Cameron McCormick said on his Website, “I have Jordan find two holes that are a good distance apart, maybe 40 feet. He places a stick or club 3 feet beyond the back edge of each hole. This is the safety zone that all putts must finish in (if they don’t go in the hole). He starts the drill by putting 10 feet from one hole, which means he has a 30-foot putt to the second hole in this example.”

From here, Jordan putts three balls to the 10-foot hole and if they’re in the “safety zone” he continues to the 30-foot hole. After hes done, he moves his starting point three more feet away from the hole so that the next putt will be 27 feet. He continues this process until reaching the original 10-foot hole.

What is the ideal distance to practice putting?

This is one the most important questions you can ask. Golfers should practice at least three feet, and at least 30 feet. Here’s why… 

The most important thing is the short putt.

You will be a consistent player if you can make 90% of your putts within five feet. This will give you the confidence to chip it close, even if you miss the green. 

Dr. Bob Rotella in Putting Out of Your Mind said this: “If you’re solid from, say, two to five feet, it makes it so much easier to make your longer putts. You can stroke them more confidently when you know that if by some misfortune you do miss, you’re a cinch to sink the next one.” 

30 feet is the other distance you should concentrate on. You might be wondering why 30 feet?

Because this is the average distance that you will need to reach the hole if you are hitting the green in regulation. The key is to make sure you don’t three-putt from this length very often. 

You should aim to make every putt but the chances of hitting it close are slim. So make it a goal to hit it close and if it doesn’t drop, you have a tap in.

The worst length putts to practice are 15-30 feet because even for the best players in the world, these aren’t high percentage putts. Don’t waste your time on this length as even professionals won’t make more than 10% of them in any given round.

Do I need to look at the hole while putting? 

While it is risky to look at the hole rather than the golf ball while putting, some players prefer this method. Other golfers might be afraid they might miss the ball completely. 

Jordan Speith is a common user of this technique and focuses on the hole vs the golf ball. Personally, I enjoy doing this while warming up on my putting green in order to improve my speed.

I focus on the hole and try to putt using my eyes. But I can’t say I’ve ever used the “no-look” technique in a tournament.

The biggest risk is not hitting the ball, but this style makes it easy to hit the putt. It’s easy to “top” a putt as you hit the top half of the ball. This will leave putts short and less likely to drop.

There is no one-size fits all approach to putting. Its possible to test it on your own. indoor putting green or at the golf course to see if it helps you gain confidence on the greens. 

Final Thoughts on Forward Press In Putting 

The forward press is one the best tips for golf to help you improve your putting stroke. It not only helps with rolling putts faster, but it can also improve mental ability. It’s a good strategy to help you hit the putt faster and not waste time standing over the golf ball.

The key to a forward press is to make sure you don’t do it too much as it can remove too much loft. This can lead to other putting issues so just remember, less is more with this simple motion. 

To get the stroke started, move the putter shaft slightly in front. You will be able to roll it better and should have fewer puts per round. It is a good idea to practice it on an indoor course or on the fairway before you put it to use during a round. 

Need more help with putting? You can also check out these two articles:

  • The Right Putter Length
  • Green Reading 101: Unlocking the Mystery

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