As the old saying goes ‘drive for show and putt for dough, it couldn’t be more true. Putting is the most simple, but yet most difficult part of the game. It can save you a number of shots per round, and be the difference in breaking 90, 80 or 70. You can drive the ball 300 yards, but if you can’t get a 3 foot putt in then it has all gone to waste.
These six putting tips and drills are guaranteed to help you shave a few shots off your score. I have tried hundreds and hundreds of drills, tips, techniques and more. These are my top six to help you better your scores.
The Under Hand Grip
Let’s start off with the grip. For me holding the putter is the most important aspect. It is the part of the body that connects you and the club. Most coaches or books suggest that you should have your right palm and back of your left hand facing the target. I feel like this allows too much rotation in the wrists, causing your putter face to open and close too easily.
I like to have my palms face flighty upward, in other words have your left wrist in a ‘weak’ position or slightly underneath the grip, and your right wrist in a ‘strong’ position or also slightly underneath the grip.
This locks your wrist in position, and therefore prevents a lot of rotation. It naturally tucks your elbows in helping you rock your shoulders more and use even less wrists in the putting stroke.
Keep Your Eyes On The Prize
Eye position is another extremely important aspect to consider when putting. There is no set eye position that everyone needs to be in, everyone’s eyes are slightly different. However 90% of golfers fall into the position of having their eyes slightly inside and to the right of the ball, I’m talking millimeters here.
The best way to tell where your eyes should be is the following. Find a dead straight 6 foot putt on the putting green, mark your ball with a line and line it up dead square with the hole. Now take your set up over that ball and get into a position that aligns the line on your ball with the hole, this will give you your ideal eye position. Use a putting mirror to see exactly where your eyes are.
Putting is all about rhythm, if your rhythm is out your distance control is going to be off and you will start to become very jerky on the shorter putts. I like to use the metronome feature on Google to get my putting in sync.
Type metronome in on Google and set it to 70 bpm. This will give you the perfect timing for your back stroke and forward stroke. You ideally want to start your putting stroke when it beeps and strike the ball when it beeps again. This works for all lengths of putts as the shorter your putt the slower your stroke will be and the longer your putt the faster your stroke will be, however it should always be within the metronome beep.
Alignment Is Key
Aligning your body to where you want to aim your putt is the key to starting the ball on line, and having a consistent stroke. Think about this, your putt breaks two balls from left to right, however you align yourself on the right edge of the hole. If you putt correctly you will miss the ball to the right causing you to think you have mis-read the putt or put a bad stroke on the ball. To make the putt you will subconsciously pull your putt. You may make your putt by pulling it, however fixing a fault with a fault is never the best thing to do.
You can see how alignment is so important when putting. The quick way is to pick a 8 foot putt with your buddy and decide on the break, align yourself accordingly, and ask him/her to check if you have aimed correctly.
If you are by yourself you’ll need two alignment sticks, take a 8 foot putt and align an alignment stick on the ground accordingly, stand behind the putt to see if it is correct, now place the other stick one foot away perpendicular to the other stick, this will help you aim your putter and feet straight to the whole.
Keep Your Eyes Still
Whenever I have a pressure putt or feel a bit nervous this is the only thing I think of. The very common tip of keeping your head still is great, however I take it to the next level. It is very easy to keep your head still, however your eyes can still move.
The next time you practice or are on the course, try keeping your head and your eyes still while putting. I find that if my head is still and my eyes move I can still pull or push my putts and sometimes have slight jerks in my hands. Keeping my eyes still helps me put a great stroke on the ball, especially under pressure situations.
The Perfect Stroke
The way you take your putter back influences a lot of things on the way down. Most amateurs I see take the putter outside the line on the way back. I find this the biggest cause of the yips, pulls, pushes and poor distance control. Striking the putter square-on has huge benefits with regards to consistency, roll and distance control.
Pick a straight 6 foot putt. Put your ball down and line up your putter square behind the ball, take two tees and place them either side on the putter head, give yourself a millimeter or two on either side. Now take the other two tees and go about three inches back and place one tee directly inline with the outside tee and one slightly inside the inside tee, now do the same on the other side. This will create the perfect arc. Make your putting stroke without hitting the tees. This will fix your arc and help you hit the ball on the center of the putter.
If you are still struggling with your putting maybe try going back to the basics by reading our how to putt article.