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A word to help you putters get it down

Email|Print| Text size + By Tom Haines
Globe Staff / September 2, 2007

Talk about par for the course.

Following last week's article about slices and snap hooks at the western edge of Ireland, 35 readers e-mailed for the promised piece of putting wisdom from Paddy Gannon, shared on the sixth hole of Connemara Golf Links on a balmy September afternoon.

Some correspondents kept calm: ``Your article mentioned the best piece of putting advice you ever received. I would appreciate if you could provide the details of this advice."

Others hinted at the desperation a devotion to the game can bring - ``Please, PLEASE, share the putting advice you received" - or cut through it completely: ``So what is the secret that will stop me from 3-putting from 12 feet?"

Here goes. It helps to know that I had just four-putted two greens and three-putted another when Paddy asked if I'd mind a suggestion. Whenever I putt, he said, my wrists were all wobbly. Anyway, Paddy didn't offer a magic bullet. Rather it was a simple reminder of fundamentals from my days of caddying at age 13. He told me to tuck my elbows snug against my sides, encouraging a swing of the arms that follows the shoulder rotation. The wrists, drawn closer from the stance, would lock tight. With less movement the putter would track on a smoother pendulum, and the ball would roll true.

A flurry of two-putts followed. A highlight came on the back nine: I missed a long birdie putt wide on the uphill 13th.

``That's a pity after such a tidy approach," Paddy said, ``and a 300-yard drive."

Paddy knows: Drive for show, putt for dough.

I made the sideways 9-foot putt that was left to save par.

There are no guarantees, of course. Reading it in the newspaper is one thing; hearing it on an Irish links on an awesome autumn afternoon is another.

Good luck.

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