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How Much Forward Press Putting

When it comes to the putting stroke, the amount of forward press can have a significant impact on the outcome of the shot. Professional golfer Phil Mickelson is known for his unique putting style, which includes a noticeable forward press putting. The forward press refers to the position of the hands at the address, where they are slightly ahead of the ball’s position. This forward press helps to engage the upper body and create a consistent putting stroke.

However, the key is finding the right balance, as too much forward press can lead to inconsistent contact with the ball at impact, while too little can cause the putter to release too early. Finding the right amount of forward press for each individual’s putting stroke is crucial for achieving a smooth and reliable putting motion.

By understanding and experimenting with the concept of how much forward press putting, golfers can fin tune their putting technique and improve their overall performance on the green. 

What is Forward Press Putting?

Forward press putting refers to the motion of pressing your putter head forward toward the hole as you address the ball before making your stroke. This puts a small amount of flex or bend into the shaft and creates potential energy. As you make your stroke, this flex releases and can help you achieve better impact conditions. It essentially primes your putter head to be moving toward the hole as you make contact with the ball rather than having the putter blade stagnant behind the ball. Forward press putting engages the muscles to make a more pendulum-like stroke and takes some of the smaller finger and hand muscles out of the stroke.

Benefits of Forward Press Putting

There are several potential benefits associated with utilizing forward press in your putting stroke:

  • Improves Solid Contact: The forward movement engages bigger muscles to release the shaft bend naturally, leading to a more solid impact. It minimizes the chance of mis-hitting putts.
  • Enhances Distance Control: The built-in resistance can help create a more consistent pace on putts, leading to fewer instances of leaving shots short or long.
  • Promotes Consistency: Making a putting stroke with momentum already going toward the hole makes it easier to repeat a consistent motion. Less can go wrong in the stroke.
  • Releases Tension: Pressing the putter forward releases tension in hands, arms, and shoulders, making for a freer, smoother stroke.
  • Improves Alignment: Pressing forward allows your eyes to better connect the blade with the intended start line.

Potential Downsides of Too Much Forward Press

One potential downside of implementing too much forward press in your putting stroke is the negative impact it can have on the loft at impact. This can result in inconsistent ball position and an improper putting grip, ultimately leading to inconsistency and potential problems with distance control. It is important to find the right balance and technique, as emphasized by experts like Stockton, to avoid the potential downsides of too much forward press. 

While forward press putting offers significant upside, too much forward press can be problematic:

  • Excessive Forward Lean: Too much shaft bend can lead to mis-hits since the putter head will be aiming left of the target at impact due to excess forward lean. The putter face may be open.
  • Poor Distance Control: With too much flex, it is harder to judge pace since energy stored in the shaft can vary and be released inconsistently.
  • Tension in Stroke: Too much forward bend in the shaft can lead to tension in the hands, arms, and shoulders, and an overly rigid stroke.
  • Inconsistent Release: An extreme forward bend may not release fully or may release late, leading to inconsistent impacts.

As with most things in golf, finding the right balance is critical. The moderate forward press allows you to harness the benefits while too much can be counterproductive.

Determining Optimal Forward Press Amount

The optimal forward press amount in putting has been a point of focus in the golfing community, especially in light of recent discussions at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. Experts emphasize the importance of the correct forward press to achieve a consistent and effective putt. Factors such as putter shaft, loft, hands-ahead, and ball position play crucial roles in determining the ideal forward press for hitting the ball with accuracy and control.

The optimal amount of forward press putting will vary from golfer to golfer based on factors like:

  • Putting style and mechanics
  • Length of backswing
  • Putter used and shaft bendability
  • Physical capability and strength
  • Dexterity in hands and wrist flexibility

Some general guidelines can be helpful when dialing in your optimal forward press amount:

  • Keep front shoulder lowered throughout press: Do not allow upper body or shoulder rise while pressing.
  • Maintain the angle created through impact: Make sure the forward lean angle is maintained during the stroke.
  • Release smoothly accelerating to ball: Make sure flex releases gradually, not all at once.
  • Body & arms remain quiet: Eliminate excessive movement or swaying.
  • Press approx. 1-3 inches for most golfers: Keep stroke compact. Varies on the length of the backswing.
  • Repeatability and consistency: Make the same motion with the same pressure every time to ingrain the motor pattern.
  • Solid impact throughout stroke: Make crisp contact either on the hitting mat or by listening for click on practice green without mis-hits.
  • Use mirror or videos: Use visual feedback to monitor motions and angle consistency.

It often requires experimentation under video analysis or with the help of a teaching professional to help identify when too much or too little forward press is happening. Finding the sweet spot takes practice but can pay big dividends.

Modifying Forward Press Based on Putting Style

The ideal forward press amount should align with your natural setup angles and putting mechanics. Here are considerations for common putting techniques:

Conventional Style

Most analysed using guidelines above. Utilize additional forward press with longer backswings to prevent excessive deceleration. Use less press with shorter, compact strokes.

Belly Length & Broomstick Putters

Typically require less forward press (3/4″ – 1.5″) due to upright nature and lightweight designs. Makes it easier to keep angles consistent during stroke.

Arm-Lock Style

Vary amount of press based on specific style. Maintain consistent angle with bent elbow throughout stroke. Less needed with shorter swings.

Left Hand Low or “Reverse” Putters

Eliminates traditional “quiet hands” since leverages whole-arm swing. Adjust pressure to keep lines consistent. May need more press due to upright nature.


Swings Minimize press since the swing is often more around body. Forward press can make it harder to keep the club on swing path. Focus on solid rotation.

As always, finding what delivers the best performance given your mechanics through repetition and making incremental adjustments is key. There are always exceptions with anything in golf!

Drills to Practice Proper Forward Press Technique

Implementing an effective forward press technique takes practice. Try these drills to engrain good habits:

Basic Setup & Takeaway Drill

Assume normal stance, grip, and posture. Press putter forward 1-2 inches feeling the bend in the shaft without moving upper body. Focus on accelerating your head as you make compact, smooth bringing motion only. Repeat making continuous strokes.

Impact Board Gate Drill

Make a basic forward press motion then settle club so it rests on the board without moving body. Then make compact stroke trying to keep shaft leaning on board for 1/2″-1″ after impact to monitor forward lean and prevent flipping.

Impact Bag Release Drill

Assume set up position then press putter into a firm impact bag. Focus on slowly releasing the forward press bend leading up to and through impact with the bag. Helps learn kinetic sequence to best release stored energy.

Mirror Press & Hold Drill

Assume a forward press angle setup while watching the mirror. Hold your body steady in a mirror while slowly taking the club back 14”-20” and re-pressing to the original forward press angle without moving your head or changing posture. Repeat.

Be sure to monitor positions with video or aim for “feels” of consistent compression and solid impact without blade twisting or mis-hits while performing these drills. Learning this key component of a sound putting stroke does require some dedicated practice.

Partnering with a Great Putter Fitting

Optimizing forward press putting technique can be further enhanced by utilizing a high quality putter fitting. An expert putter fitter can analyze your optimal setup positions, leverage points and biomechanics to recommend ideal putter designs, lengths, lie angles, grip styles and weighting to harness maximum benefits from the forward press technique. Finding equipment aligned with your stroke style helps lower scores.


Should you use a forward press when putting?

Using some amount of forward press can be beneficial for most golfers when putting. A slight forward press of the putter engages the bigger muscles to make a more pendulum-like stroke, improves solid contact, enhances distance control, and promotes consistency in the stroke. It is generally recommended to utilize a small amount of forward press (1-3 inches) during your putting setup. However, too much can lead to issues like misaligned aim, poor distance calibration, and tension in the stroke. Finding the optimal amount of forward lean for your style takes experimentation.

Should you lean forward when putting?

It is advantageous for most golfers to have some element of spine tilt and forward bend at address while putting, often around 10-15 degrees. This athletic posture allows the shoulders to naturally rotate during the stroke and facilitates solid contact. However, you still want a balanced midsection throughout the motion. Leaning excessively or dipping the upper body can lead to mis-hits and inconsistent pace control on putts. Keeping your upper body steady while utilizing a slight bend at setup typically allows for the best mechanics.

Does Jordan Spieth look at the hole when he putts?

Yes, Jordan Spieth utilizes what is known as the “peek putting” technique where he visually locks in on the hole at address while evaluating the break on a given putt, then maintains focus by finding the hole again in his peripheral vision during the stroke. This anchors his visual connection to the intended target and direction throughout the motion. While it’s not essential to lock eyes on the hole the entire stroke, establishing an early focus there informs proper alignment and speed judgement.

How to make 10 foot putts?

Making more 10 foot putts requires dialing in reads and speed while committing fully to the visual line. Effortlessness comes from great prep – take time on reads, find hole throughout motion, match practice strokes to exact distance. Setup with an athletic posture, utilize some forward press for solid contact, keep head still with quiet hands and release the toe low and ahead to start the ball online. Employ tools like sensitivity boards, putting mirrors and video to reinforce setup positions and mechanics. Address calibration issues with impact bags and missing short putts via gates or noodles. Building confidence inside 10 feet through repetition establishes clutch putting skill when it counts.

Conclusion: how much forward press putting

The amount of forward press used in putting can greatly affect the outcome of a putt. By incorporating a forward press in putting, golfers can effectively roll the ball toward the hole with greater consistency. Callaway, a leading brand in golf equipment, recommends using this technique to enhance Putting performance. By adding a forward press to their putting routine, players can ensure that the putter has the proper four degrees of loft to execute a clean and smooth stroke.

Throughout the stroke, the forward press allows for a more controlled and accurate movement, ultimately leading to improved putting accuracy. Therefore, for those seeking to improve their putting game, it is wise to consider incorporating the forward press technique as part of their overall putting strategy. In essence, implementing a forward press can make a significant difference in a golfer’s putting performance. 

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