On Sunday, Great Britain’s Justin Rose became golf’s first Olympic champion since 1904. In a thrilling final round, Rose sank a birdie putt to win by two shots, while Stenson bogeyed the last hole. In close competitions such as this, superior putting skills can make the difference in bringing home the Gold.
During the 2016 Masters, Rose switched to using the claw grip. While many thought switching his grip a week before the tournament was risky, it worked out well for him. He was quoted as saying, “I just really noticed that the stroke felt a lot smoother, and then thought that was interesting,” said Rose after his round. “It was kind of a mixture of feel and science telling me it was something that was working for me, and then I continued to practice with it the remainder of the week.”
When Justin Rose makes a swing, he makes sure he doesn’t fall into the trap of improper alignment. Part of his pre-routine is checking to make sure his body is aligned parallel to the target, not directly at it. It is important to understand that when a game uses side posture; you have to align your body slightly to the left of the target.
In addition to body alignment and a proper grip, Mike Bittel, CFO of LinksWalker, says “Rose uses a drill to improve his putting accuracy by placing a stick in front of his ball. He adjusts his posture until the stick is in the middle of the hole. This technique helps him see a straight line and allows him to align his feet up perfectly parallel to the stick insuring correct foot alignment.”
While Rose’s putting drill will increase accuracy with better alignment, Bittel adds that an alignment stick cannot be used on the course during a tournament. That is why having an alignment guide printed on your ball is so important. It is the only training aid that is legal during play. An alignment guide promotes square impact, which will improve your aim. A guide will train your eyes’ perception of the target direction, and in the end, your hand-eye coordination will improve.
Rose was able to win Olympic Gold through strict adherence to proper putting techniques; including grip, body alignment and aiming strategies. Putting is where we all can shave strokes off our round to shoot our best score.