Instruction: Glenn Deck


Acclaimed instructor Glenn Deck is the Director of Instruction at Pelican Hill Golf Club and Oak Creek Golf Club, and one of Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Instructors.

The two most important shots in golf are your tee shots and putting. If you struggle off the tee or on the greens, it is very difficult to score well.  Let’s take a look at how to improve these key aspects of your game.


Most players hit their tee shots with an open club face, promoting a weak slice, and a few hit tee shots with a closed face, producing low hooks. Both errors cost any golfer distance and accuracy.  To hit your driver further and straighter, visualize shaking hands with your target in your follow through to square up the club face in the impact zone, as shown in the accompany picture. Try to create the feeling of the right hand extending out past the left hand to a handshake position in the follow through as the hips have rotated to the target. As perfectly demonstrated in this picture of Rickie Fowler, the key is making sure the left leg braces first, then the left hip opens, which allows the left shoulder to work up in the impact zone, which then allows the right hand and arm to extend out parallel to the target line. This sequence promotes squaring up the club face through impact and releasing the club to the target. The result is you’re swinging the golf club freely, creating a large arc and maximizing your club head speed. As Bobby Jones once said, “The right hand is to catch up to left hand at impact and to pass it in follow through.”

Learn the release drill: This drill develops a feel for proper release sequence. Begin by assuming your set up position without a club and make a back swing. Then, drop only your left arm down in front of you, with the back of your left hand facing the target, then raise your left hand/arm up about six inches. Next, swing the right hand and arm under the left hand and left arm – you’ll see in the accompanying picture how the right hand extends out to the target in a handshake position. The left hip is opening and the right knee has released to the target … yes, your legs are moving to promote proper release sequence. The left arm has not moved forward, yet the left shoulder and arm have worked up to blend in with the hips opening and right arm extension. This is the feeling you want to achieve as you swing past the impact zone. Practice this drill to promote proper sequence in the downswing and a full release to the target. Once you have the feel, make a mini-swing with a club and recreate the same feeling with your hips, hands, and club all pointing at the target. When you make a bigger swing, you simply create the same feel and swing through to a balanced finish.


When it comes to putting, there are seven different types of strokes and over 20 types of putting grips on the PGA Tour. So there is not one stroke that works best for everyone. But, what all the great putters have in common is that is they can do the following four things very well:

No. 1: Get Good at Reading Greens: Reading greens is not easy … even the pros misread putts. Once you figure out which way a putt breaks, focus on the last third of the distance between you and the hole — this is where the ball will be slowing down and turning the most, so pay close attention to this area. There’s more to it than judging slope — speed determines the line as much as anything.

No. 2: See the Line:  After you make your read, make your practice stroke from behind the ball looking at your target. You can see your target line better from behind the ball than from the side. Once I see my line from behind the ball, my eyes never leave a target two to 12 inches in front of the ball until I aim my putter face on that line.

No. 3: Develop a Smooth Stroke: One of the seven different putting strokes used on the PGA Tour is to putt like you’re holding a paint brush and painting trim work. When you use a paint brush, your arms are free to move. Great putters have educated hands, but use more than just the hands — putting is a hands and arms movement. Mostly the arms are moving, not the wrist. So try putting one-handed first and imitate a painting stroke to see if this type of stroke benefits you. If you like it, then incorporate the other hand into the stroke. Just remember, the hands stay ahead of the tip of paint brush/clubhead — and you don’t paint with your shoulders. Good putting strokes are the ones that begin rolling the golf ball end-over-end as soon as contact is made. If I know where the back of my left hand is or where the palm of my right hand is, I know where the face of my putter is. When you’re painting, you’re thinking of a smooth stroke, not the mechanics of the stroke. The same is true for putting.

No. 4 Focus on speed and not your stroke: When I’m stepping up to the putt, I take my time and aim the putter first. After that, I’m thinking only about the speed and my line/target, not mechanics. If your ball doesn’t go in, it should stop about 10 inches past the cup. There are a lot more ways for the ball to go in the hole when it’s rolling slowly than when it’s going fast at the hole.

To develop trust in your putting stroke you can play “21 Putts” at home or on a practice green.  Simply place two tees in the green, or two water bottles on the floor indoors, set up just wide enough apart for a ball to fit through, with about a quarter-inch room for error on both sides. Now place a ball six inches back (one foot out as your skill level improve) from the gate you’ve created. Take 21 putts and see how many go between the two objects without touching. The higher the number, the better your stroke. If you get 20 or 21, you’re just about ready for the PGA TOUR. If you get 17-19, you have a good stroke. Fewer than 17 means you need to work on your stroke. Once you’re consistently getting 17 or more, trust your stroke and focus more on green reading and speed control. If you stay at 16 or fewer, try the painting stroke, and if this doesn’t work, attend Pelican Hill Golf Club putting school to find the stroke that works best for you.

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