The Secret to Putting Rhythm

Golfers use their putter more than any other club in their golf bag during a round of golf, however, putting is one of the least effectively practiced parts of their game. Mike Shannon, putting instructor at Sea Island Golf Learning Center, and considered by many to be the world’s best putting instructor, has some great advice regarding establishing a repeatable putting stroke.

According to Shannon, establishing a consistent rhythm to the putting stroke is essential. For every golfer, speed is everything in putting. Says Shannon, “When you talk about speed, you have to talk about the rhythm of the putting stroke.” To establish an individual’s rhythm, a simple drill is in order. One that makes use of a metronome.

Establishing a Rhythm

According to Shannon, “Ninety percent of all the (tour) players have a rhythm of 76 beats per minute.” All tour players, says Shannon, have a rhythm of between 72 and 80 beats per minute (bpm) with a metronome.

A golfer can establish his or her rhythm using a metronome by putting 12 or so balls to a cup that is approximately 25 feet away. Set the metronome to 76 bpm, clip the metronome to a pocket, and practice putting to the cup in time with the metronome. As Shannon demonstrates, the putting stroke will consist of starting with one tone of the metronome and impact the ball at the next tone.

After putting the 12 balls a few times, says Shannon “most of your balls should be in a pattern.” Most of them will be in a two to three foot radius somewhere around the cup.

“If most putts are right around the cup, then 76 beats per minute is right for you. If several are past the hole, three, four or five feet, 76 bpm is too slow, giving you too much time to make the stroke, so turn the metronome up to 77 or 78 bpm. If the pattern is short of the cup, then 76 bpm makes your stroke too short, so turn the metronome down.” (

Once the optimal putting rhythm is established using the metronome, more consistency will be achieved. For putts of differing lengths, although the putting stroke will be either longer or shorter, the rhythm that is established will not change. According to Mr. Shannon, “For good distance control and good speed control, get your metronome and do some work.”

Mike Shannon has been recognized as a top teacher by both Golf Digest and Golf Magazine.