You hear it all the time when putting is discussed. “Is my stroke straight back and straight through; do I have an inside to inside arc; or did I cut across the ball?”
Many people plagued with putting woes worry a lot about the path of their putter in their stroke.
It should not be the main focus of their worries.
While a path to face separation has the potential to put tilt (what many refer to as sidespin) on the ball, putting is done at such low speeds that this will not be the biggest culprit in making your putts go off your intended line.
The biggest culprit? Face angle.
It is not the path itself that is the problem – it’s a path that makes the face point in the wrong direction at impact that is the issue.
The club face is largely responsible for the starting line of the your putts and thus, is the leading factor (besides speed) in whether you will have putting success.
If the face angle is just one degree off line on a ten foot putt you will likely miss the hole.
So, this season, focus on making a stroke that gets the club face square to your target line and worry less about the path of your stroke. Yes, a bad path is a problem, but only in how it affects where the putter face ends up at impact.
For more info on putting have a listen to this Golf Science Lab podcast with Dr. Rob Neal on what makes a good putter good.