There are many theories in putting:
- Straight back-straight through
- Inside to square to down the line
- Inside to square to inside
However, perhaps the most important fundamental rhythm is often overlooked. Rhythm establishes the steadiness of the putting stroke and is the main factor in controlling distance and speed. Rhythm is the heartbeat of a good stroke, and is just as important (if not more so) than any other aspect of successful putting.
Regardless of whether your tempo is fast or slow, the club head should move at a constant pace going back and coming forward. If your putting stroke accelerates too quickly or decelerates abruptly at impact, it’s extremely difficult to control the distance of the putt. A stroke made in this manner is easy to identify because the backstroke and follow-through are different in speed and length. The sure sign of a stroke with good rhythm is one where the backstroke and follow-through move at the same speed and are of equal lengths.
A stroke with good rhythm is often described as a “pendulum” stroke. However, this term implies that the putter swings itself from a fixed point. Instead, it would be more appropriate to think of the stroke as being powered by the arms and shoulders while the putter is kept from swinging on its own. When the arms and shoulders control the putter, good rhythm is much easier to achieve because there is no independent motion of the putter head. Focusing on moving the arms and shoulders (while controlling the putter) at the same speed and the same distance back and through will ensure solid contact and consistent control over the distance of your putts.
Remember: Practice putts 3, 4, 5 feet as these are the ones you should make and rhythm for the longer ones.