Golf putting techniques among professional PGA tour players do vary and one area is their putting stroke and how it relates to the amount of stoke distance they use before striking the ball and after striking the ball. Below well explain the three type of approaches to this aspect of putting.
The first is an Equal Distance or Balanced stroke approach and what that means is the back stroke length and forward stroke are of equal distance. This is the most common method used by golfers. The goal is to have equal distance and roughly equal speed.
An advantage here is the golfer can concentrate on only one speed for his swing and simply control distance by widening his total stroke length for the distance he wants his putt to go. Another advantage is that it helps reduce the amount of arc in his stroke and thereby help keep his putter head square at impact. A final advantage it helps promote the pendulum motion in his upper body and therefore help reduce flexing of the wrists. In the image below the golfer is using the back ball as a guide to where he wants to stop the back stroke. The forward ball is where he will stop his follow through.
The second approach is a Decelerator Stroke or Backswing Stroke method. This is where you take a much longer backswing and a shorter follow through. By taking such a longer backswing the golfer often has to slow his speed before impact.
There are several disadvantages to this approach. The first is you have to make a larger back swing arc and this takes your putter head of the target line. When the club face does reach the ball, you run the risk of either coming inside-out or outside-in and not getting the club face square at impact. Often this results in not contracting the ball square and putting spin on the ball. Another common short fall to this method is often overpowering short putts. And finally, it is harder to maintain a smooth and flowing tempo to your putting stroke.
Surprisingly many weekend golfers use this approach. One of the reasons is they take the longer back swing so they can think longer about their putt. A good rule to follow is once you decide on how you are going to hit the ball then be committed to it and have trust in yourself. Do not second guess yourself while you are striking the ball. And a second reason is that they look up to soon and therefore their follow through stroke is short. Simply to impatient to see where the ball is going.
The last method is a Forward Stroke or Accelerator Stroke approach. This method has a short backstroke and a longer follow through. The short back stroke enables the golfer to hit the ball more solidly and keep the putter head square at impact. It is especially better on becoming more consistent on shorter putts and it also is better to use faster greens. Because of these reasons many PGA tour players use this approach. The disadvantage is that it is harder to control distance on longer putts.
This is an area of your golf putting game you may want to take a second look at. For beginners I recommend to using the balance approach and strongly discourage anyone from using the second approach which is a long back stroke because of the disadvantages. Furthermore, if you want to improve the accuracy of your shorter putts implement the Forward Stroke method. A good rule of thumb is your back stoke to be 1/3 and your follow through 2/3rds of the total length of you putting stroke.