Perfect putting tips: Part 1

Published 07/09/2009 09:37:00

In this new series of articles we aim to de-mystify that most important of all aspects of the golf game: putting.

Probably more tips have been written about putting than any other area of the game. One of the main reasons for this is that there is more room for individuality in putting than in the full swing. The best way to improve your putting quickly is to work on your distance control, since unless you are an extremely accurate iron player, most of your approach putts are likely to be from fairly long range.


Comfort is key at address

Comfort is your number one priority at address. If you are not relaxed standing over the ball, you will always struggle to make a smooth putting stroke. It is far better to be a little unorthodox in your setup yet remain comfortable than to be technically correct yet awkward or uncomfortable, since the unease will result in an inhibited stroke.


Visualise the ball running two feet past the hole

To ensure that you always get the ball up to the hole, especially on uphill putts, always visualise running the ball two feet past the cup.


Remember: break decreases with speed

The harder you hit a ball, the less break of the green it will adopt. So if you hit a long, perfectly length putt, it will run out of steam and break more at the end of the shot - meaning it could just miss. That is why the previous tip about hitting it past the hole is important.


Keep grip pressure light for control

One of the key causes of leaving putts well short of the hole is gripping the club too tightly. This reduces your feel and prevents you from feeling the weight of the clubhead in your hands.


Ask a friend to help with alignment

If you can't even line up straight putts, then how do you expect to hit the breaking putts? Get a friend to help - use their eyes to check your alignment. Remember: golf is a game against the course, not against each other. Well, not unless there's money at stake!


Style doesn't matter, strokes do

It's not about how you look hitting the ball, what kind of putter you use or anything else so long as you make the putts.


Hover the putter above the grass at address

To avoid snagging the putter in the grass at the beginning of the stroke and losing rhythm and control, hover the putter a fraction of an inch above the ground at address.

Now you can glide the putter away without risk of losing control of your stroke.


Be consistent with your golf ball selection

It's difficult to be consistent with your judgement of distance if you play with golf balls of wildly varying construction and make-up. It doesn't matter what you use, only that you're comfortable with it and you have had practise before hitting the range.


Focus on the back of the ball

Greg Norman says in 100 Instant Golf Lessons, "When I putt, I don't just look at the whole ball, I look at the back of the ball. By focusing on the back, you help ensure that you'll strike the ball from straight behind it, which in turn will encourage you to make the proper low back-and-through stroke."


Putt quickly if nerves are a problem

If you think too much about a shot, your conscious takes over. This isn't what you want at the moment you're hitting a stroke - not just a putt but any golf stroke. Your subconscious and muscle memory should take care of the shot after you've decided which one to make.

Sitting on top of a golf ball for a long time might work for some players but if you get nervous, weight it up and hit it quick.


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