Faxon Shares the Key to Best Putting in PGA History

Interview: Faxon Shares the Key to Best Putting in PGA History

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Brad Faxon Putting InterviewWould playing 18 holes without a three-putt green sound good to you? Now think really big. How about 18 consecutive rounds of golf without a three-putt? In 2000, Brad Faxon did just that, playing 327 PGA tournament holes without a single three-putt green.

Faxon led the PGA Tour in Putting Average in 1996, 1999, and 2000 when he set the single-season record with only 1.704 putts per green in regulation. In case you think this eight-time PGA Tour winer had a temporary hot run, keep in mind he ranked 13th in putting in 2005 at the age of 44. What Faxon believes to be the key to his remarkable putting success may surprise you.

Q: What is the key to your putting success?

A: I definitely work on grip, stance, and tempo. But what I believe is most important for consistently great putting is adhering to one’s routine. If I’m true to my routine on every single putt, then I’m not too hard on myself if the putt doesn’t go in. If I’ve followed through on what I’m trying to achieve with each new putt, then I’ll have a great chance for success.

Q: Do you approach long putts any differently than short ones?

A: I don’t lag putts, even the long ones. I try to hole every putt, every time, no matter the circumstance. My philosophy is to not place more importance on one putt over another. A putt is a putt, no more, no less. It doesn’t matter if I’m putting a snaking twenty-footer for birdie or a downhill five-foot putt for bogey. I take the emotion out of putting by approaching each stroke with equal importance and following my routine.

Q: What are the fundamentals for consistently good putting?

I’m somewhat adverse to the word “fundamentals” when it comes to the putting equation. There are so many variations to how we can achieve putting success that I’m reluctant to say that one aspect of putting is fundamental to getting it right. Look at the grip. We have the overlap, reverse overlap, cross-handed, and the claw. Any one of those could work for you.

Q: Are there certain aspects of the putting process that are true in all great putters on the PGA Tour?

I feel like you have to be relaxed. When I putt, my triceps are really soft. The forearms match the shaft. I think the best putters backswing and follow through are equal. By comparison, I see a lot of amateurs doing just the opposite with short backswings and a long follow through.

Sharing What He Knows

For decades Faxon’s putting expertise has been recognized throughout the PGA tour. This legacy is still true as he competes on the Champions Tour. Faxon gladly shares what he knows  and often feels like a proud papa when his tips translate into victories for fellow pros. In the past year, Faxon’s counsel on putting has contributed to victories and lower scores for players like Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose.

Q: Is there anyone on the PGA Tour whose putting style you’ve emulated?

A: I love watching the greats of the game putt and I’ll even mimic their styles during the course of a round. More than once during a PGA tour event, I’ve visualized myself putting like Ray Floyd, Ben Crenshaw, or Tom Watson.

Q: Would you recommend an amateur golfer copying the putting style of a golfer they admire?

A: I would observe a PGA player whose body style or rhythm is comparable to your own. Then I would take what you like about that player’s routine and incorporate it into their game.

Q: How do you handle putting pressure?

At crunch time, I stick with what has worked for me throughout my round and his career. I would say that players second guess themselves more as the round progresses. Later in a round a player places self-imposed pressure on himself or herself. Stick with your routine and believe it in it.

Routine has helped mold Brad Faxon into one of the greatest putters of all-time. For you, following a routine could mean draining more putts and going 18 holes without a three-putt. Suddenly your improved golf game could feel anything but routine.

 


 

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