Cameron Smith Is a Shining Star Thanks to this Accessible Trade Secret
"A golf swing is a collection of corrected mistakes" -Carol Mann (professional golfer).
So, what's the winning formula for one of the top putters in the world?
Cameron Smith is making waves with his latest achievements and he's not afraid to give away a couple secrets along his way up the grassy green ladder.
Meet the Man, the Myth, the Legend
Professional golfer Cameron Smith was born in sunny Brisbane, Australia on August 18, 1993 to parents Des and Sharon Smith.
He's currently dating fellow golfer Jordan Ontiveros, who's previously played professionally as well on the Symetra Tour.
The 28 year-old is a proud professional golfer touted as having one of the best short games on tour. He went professional in 2013, ranks 23rd in PGA Tour worldwide, and is heading into the FedEx Cup Playoffs ranked 3rd.
This PGA Star has impressed the golf galaxy with a few massive wins. In 2017 he partnered with Jonas Blixt and they went on to win the 2017 Zurich Classic of New Orleans. He did so yet again in 2021 with Marc Leishman.
Smith won the Australian PGA Championship two years in a row, a skillful accomplishment, in 2017 and 2018.
In 2020, he won the Sony Open in Hawaii in a sudden death playoff. He made par at the 72nd hole and took the win from Brendan Steele. The day was full of dramatic anticipation and catharsis.
Oh, and he has one more impressive achievement under his belt... in 2020 he finished runner-up at the Masters.
Recent Headline Chatter
Cameron Smith recently made headlines for two major "strokes" of genius. These moments will go down in history and have squarely put Cam in center spotlight.
18 In 18
This year, Cameron tied the PGA record for fewest putts in a round - with 18 total putts. He ultimately missed the record-breaking putt on the 18th hole to finish a hair shy of the record. He became the 9th golfer in history to make that score.
Liberty National GC
Smith also stalked one of the most impressive achievements on a golf course this year - a dauntingly low 59 - at the Liberty National Golf Course. He finished with an 11 under 60 after missing a tricky putt on the 18th green.
This score gave him a significant advantage entering the final round of The Northern Trust, with a share of the 54-hole lead against Jon Rahm. He would end up battling Rahm and Tony Finau all day on Sunday before losing in a playoff and finishing runner-up.
So What's His Secret?
People have speculated about the fundamentals of his putting strategy and technique for years now. Coached and mentored since 2004 by star coach Grant Field, it's clear they're doing something right… but what?
With a scoring average of 69.93 Smith gets asked how he makes such successful putts and what strategies he's implemented to up his game lately, to which he responds "nothing". Yeah... nothing.
He goes on to clarify that there's simply nothing new at play, just good old fashioned practice and consistency. That, and some great tools.
His Traditional Tools and Drill Routines
Cameron has been pretty transparent that the only way to success is through hard work and practice. But in order to practice getting great at something, the foundation has to be correct first.
Only then can it be repeated until it's a consistent and engrained movement that's second nature on the green. He says that the trick is to do the technique exactly the same every time.
The Pro Path Putting Mirror
In order to practice the fundamentals, Cam uses tools and drills to self-correct his form, stroke, and aim. He's been an advocate for the ProPath Putting Mirror, even shouting out the mirror as a great at-home aid in a 2020 Golf Digest article. He notes it helps him line up his shoulders, face, and eyes for consistent alignment and a buttery smooth putting stroke.
Once Cam has run through his favorite drills and checked his speed and alignment he moves away from the tools and begins practicing as if he was on the course. His unique and consistent setup to the ball is consistent every single time he hits a putt - whether practicing, or staring down a winning putt on 18.
Grant Field, his coach, is also a huge fan of the Pro Path putting tool. He's said about the mirrors, "I like Back 2 Basics because even my most skilled students can get immense value from their tools. But at the same time, a bogey golfer could pick one of these up and drop their scores with just a little practice". In an insightful training video from Skillest, Grant Field talks at length about the minutiae of Cam's putting setup and stroke when using the Pro Path.
Together they run through precise alignment drills with these tools so that real-time technique correction is available. Field says that the mirror works for them and they prefer to stick with what works rather than constantly change things up.
Working on Form
Grant describes working hard on posture and form on a daily basis.
He makes sure that Smith's spine and shoulders are neutral and level, and that he's in line to match the stroke continuation indicated with the mirror.
He continues, explaining that he trains Smith to have a slight curvature in the upper spine so that his eyes can align along the center or inside of the ball rather than too far past/over it, as well as to get a looser hang on his arms. They work on center alignments also, with knees at a 90° angle from the mid-foot/ankle and up through the middle of the spine, for core balance.
They prioritize a posture that is precise, but also comfortable enough to be repeatable.
Something particularly unique to Smith's stroke is the similar length and speed balance between backswing and forward swing with the putter head. The aim (and outcome) is to gain enough momentum in the wind-up to transfer energy in the collision and propel the ball in its properly controlled direction.
Smith's stroke generally travels straight back and accelerates on the incline of the mirror, giving a perceived arc, though it's actually very minor. They stick to a natural slight arc which is the result of posturing and not any exaggerated effort.
They believe they've found the foundational formula and simply must master the repetitive consistency of what has continued to be successful.
Here at Back 2 Basics, we look forward to watching Cam continue to improve all aspects of his game as he chases down more and more tournament wins!
And if you want to putt like Cam, check out the Pro Path mirrors and Level Up Your Game today.
Visit us here to explore our alignment training mirrors, used by many golf pros just like Cameron Smith and Grant Field!