Todd Sones: Putting Triggers

Even Tour players struggle with starting the putter back. The way to combat it is with a putting trigger.
The way to start your putting stroke is with a putting trigger.

Todd Sones is a Golf Digest Top 50 Instructor who teaches out of White Deer Run Golf Club near Chicago. He’s also a Golf Magazine Top 100 Instructor, a Golf Channel Academy Lead Coach, and a Golf Academy of America Advisory Board Member.

In the winter months, Todd teaches indoors at the Buffalo Grove Golf & Sports Center, and from time to time, he sends out some pretty helpful tips.

Many players, even Tour players, struggle with starting the putter back. Anyone who sits over the ball too long will ultimately end up thinking about things that take their focus away from the hole and making the putt. In this week’s video, Todd shows you how to start your putting stroke without getting stuck over the ball.

As always, I try to loosely transcribe these tips because they only stay up for about a week. You can gain access to this tip and more simply by becoming an Impact Golf Member at

The worst thing you can do over a putt is to become stagnant and still where you sit over the putt too long, giving your mind an opportunity to start thinking about the mechanics of your stroke.

“Great players don’t do that,” says Todd. “They keep their mind focused on the hole so that when the putter’s swinging, they’re not thinking about the mechanics of their stroke.”

What really helps players once they’ve got a pre-shot routine and a set-up to get over the golf ball is a putting trigger, a way to start the motion so that they’re not stuck and still and become tight and mechanical when they’re over the golf ball.

There are really two triggers you can see on the PGA and LPGA Tours. One comes from the head, and the other comes from the hands. The first one we’ve seen many players have is a bit of a forward press. If you start with a little bit of a forward press, that’s fine just to get you in motion. Be careful.

Once you
Once you’ve got a pre-shot routine, the best trigger is to look at the hole and then let the putter go. 

Too much of a forward press can create a problem. If you have too much forward lean of the shaft, it will actually make the putter dig into the ground if you kept the lean of the shaft at that angle in the forward stroke. Players that have too much forward press ultimately end up moving their body backward. Their head goes backward so the putter can swing through without getting stuck into the ground.

A little bit of forward press, about 1-2 degrees, is fine. Too much, 3-5 degrees, will make you back up. Otherwise the putter would dig into the ground, and then you have to have perfect timing.

The trigger that I think is the best is to simply let your eyes go to the hole, which gets the hole fresh in your mind. Then right when you come back to the ball, let the putter go. The last thing you should do is look at the hole. Right when your eyes come back to the ball, let the putter swing so that you’re not thinking mechanically during the stroke.

Work on something that gets you in motion so that you’re not still, tense, and focused on your mechanics during the stroke. That will help you to perform a lot better when you’re on the golf course.



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