One of my "hobbies" is coaching a middle school golf team. Along with this comes a lot of teaching regarding their golf swings. One of the things I have noticed with them - as well as with many amateur golfers - is the tendency to extend their arms fully while putting.
Maybe they think this is a simpler pendulum swing or it just seems to occur naturally. The problem is that having fully extended arms makes it more difficult to power your stroke as well as to be consistent in controlling distances.
Having your arms fully extended gives you less strength to power your stroke. Just try to lift something with your arms fully extended. If the object is heavy you will find it much easier with your arms against your chest and bending your elbows (like a two-handed curl). Less strength will mean less control. Try to hit a longer putt with your arms fully extended. I think you will find it difficult to move the putter back slowly and in full control. Just this week I was playing with a good golfer that was struggling with his putting. I noticed that his arms were fully extended and when he putted his motion was not slow and smooth but rather quick and jerky. I suggested to him the change below and he started rolling it much better.
Instead, I would recommend "anchoring" your arms (elbows up to your shoulder) against your chest and maintain the bends in your elbows. Here is how you can find the right setup for you. Stand with you putter in hand and your arms fully extended and parallel to the ground. Now gradually bend your elbows and bring the grip end of the club closer to your chest. Stop as soon as your elbows rest against the side of your chest. Now bend over gradually at the hips until your putter lies level on the ground. You should find stroking your putts with precision and control much more easily done.
The anchoring of your arms against your chest effectively eliminates some variation making the stroke simpler and more repeatable. That is certainly something we need to putt well.
If you struggle with your putting such as averaging two putts per hole, try the above method. You should reduce the number of putts you take and your scores will get lower. Hopefully you will enjoy the game even more as that is why we play.
As far as the middle-schoolers, playing a sport for the first time can be difficult. It takes some time to learn the new motions. It's easier if they have played other sports. However, golf can be challenging to learn and even more challenging to become proficient. Practicing the right things is important. Simplifying things can speed up the improvement process.
I hope you have success in your game.
I confess! I am an avid golfer. I also play left-handed. Since I now manage the National Association of Left-handed Golfers website, I thought I would start a Blog...this blog! What will I have to say? Stay tuned and find out.