Best Putting Tips
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For the average golfer, saving strokes on the putting green is one of the fastest, if not the fastest, way to lower your scores. When it comes to putting, several options and styles can work, depending on the individual. But putting, as with everything in golf, has many aspects to it and knowing where to start and what to do can be daunting. So, without further ado, here are some of the best putting tips for golfers looking to improve their putting ability.
How To Choose Your Putter
Putting is all about comfort and confidence; choose your putter (and your grip) wisely.
With so many options, from various length shafts, counterbalanced putters, mallet style, blade style, and several varieties of grip thicknesses, it may be difficult to choose what will help you make more putts. The key is to try as many different styles of putter as necessary in order for you to feel comfortable.
Take a trip down to your favorite golf retail shop, head over to the putters section, and play around with the various models, lengths, and grips. You need something that, when you stand over the ball, you feel confident with, regardless of your stroke mechanics.
Stroke and Setup
The kind of putter you choose will depend on your stroke and your setup. If you prefer having a straight-back and straight-through type stroke, something center-shafted and face-balanced may be optimal. For those who prefer the putter swing on more of an arc, heel-shafted and heel-balanced will promote that type of stroke.
Ensuring the putter is at a length you feel comfortable with at address is important as well. Remember that just because it comes at a certain length in the store doesn’t mean you have to use it at that length either.
With the recent popularity of the large, box-style grips for putters, players now have a wide array of grip sizes to choose from. This is also very player dependent: if you prefer to have quiet hands, utilizing the big muscles more, the bigger grips work well. Conversely, if you like putting with a little hand action, a standard or slightly oversized grip will promote more hand action through the stroke.
Since putting is an intricate and complex part of the game, it’s important to take the time to tinker around with your putter so that you know if you put a good stroke on the ball, it’s going to have a good chance of going in the hole. Remember, there isn’t such a thing as a “right” way of putting; if you feel like you can make putts, and it’s permitted within the rules, go with it.
Conventional, left-(or right-) hand-low, or saw/claw/pencil grip: Which one is right for you?
There are pros and cons to every type of putting grip, and the differences are straightforward. A conventional grip is great for feeling the distance, but hitting putts solid can be challenging, especially when under pressure or battling the yips (if you’re struggling with the yips, check out this article on how you can overcome them).
With a lead-hand-low style grip, solid contact is much easier, but it takes some feel away and can make distance control difficult. The same goes with the variations of the “claw” grip; the putter stays very stable with little hand action, but still requires precision with your mechanics. Any grip you choose must feel right for you. If you’re using a grip you like, but still struggle to make as many putts as you feel you should, you might need to brush up on your mechanics.
Putting mechanics and setup should be kept as simple as possible.
The only difference between your putting setup versus a normal shot is due to the design of most putters: Since the shaft is usually the shortest club in the bag, and stands more upright, you’re going to be closer and stand slightly taller, unless you prefer bending more forward and using a shorter putter. Here are some of the other basics:
- Your shoulders, arms, and hands must be relaxed at address. Any tension in these areas will make a smooth stroke, solid contact, and gauging distance difficult, even on short putts.
- Your eyes should be on top of or slightly inside the ball when you look down at it. Having your eyes more inside the line, which is how they would normally be for a normal shot, will help you see the line better.
- The stroke should be a result of your shoulders rocking back and forth smoothly, with everything else swinging in unison.
- The tempo can be slow and smooth, or quick and deliberate, or anything in between. The key is that the tempo should match. Quick back and slow through or slow back and quick through won’t add up to success on the putting green.
Just by implementing the four basics above, you’ll find yourself making better strokes and giving yourself more chances to sink the ball into the hole.
Your New Best Friend
A chalk line is a golfer’s best friend when it comes to improving your putting.
Walk into your local hardware store and purchase a carpenter’s chalk line along with some blue chalk. Take it out to the practice green, and find a straight, slightly uphill putt in the 6-8 foot range. Place the end of the chalk line at the back of the hole, secure the end with a tee, and slowly let the string extend to your desired length. Hold the string tight to the ground and snap it once or twice, and you should have a clean, straight line to the hole.
Now you have a great reference point to hone in your stroke. Start at three feet and make twenty in a row, then move back to four feet and make fifteen in a row, back another foot and make ten straight, and finish with making five in a row from six feet. If you miss a putt, start over at the distance you’ve reached.
This exercise will accomplish three things: First, you’ll know exactly what happens when you make a bad stroke. Second, as you get more comfortable, you’ll ingrain the feeling of what it’s like to make a solid stroke. Third, fifty repetitions and added pressure of making every putt in a row will help hone in your focus and eliminate any bad habits you’ve picked up.
The Final Putt
Once you have a putter that feels good in your hands and to your eye, you nail the basics, and put in some work on your mechanics, you will make more putts, guaranteed!
If you find yourself making good strokes, but having difficulty reading your putts, click on this article, which will help you learn more about green reading.Get out on the putting green and improve your scores today!