My Golf Instructor

Putting

Putting is making a small, easy stroke on the putting green that is designed to roll the ball to the hole. Unlike other shots in golf, putting requires the use of a putter (a flat faced stick) that does not loft the ball into the air, but rather rolls it along the surface of the green.

Putting Drills

Putting Tips

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  • Ball Position Affects Rise

    According to the SAM Putt Lab stats you want your putter to have a 4 degree rise coming through the ball to get an ideal roll. This is why having your ball position forward of the bottom of your arc is so important. A solid ball position and neutral set up will help you to achieve the perfect rise angle.

  • If Time is Short Go Green

    Before your round make sure to spend time at the putting green. Putt to the fringe to get a feel for the speed of the greens without putting pressure on yourself to drain putts. Then spend some time making some 3 footers so your eyes can repeatedly see the ball drop into the cup. This way you are learning the speed before you tee off and building confidence. Remember, if you only have a few minutes go to the putting green rather than the driving range.

  • Keep Your Weight Equal

    Check to make sure your weight is even between your feet. If you lean left like some people promote, you will have to get wristy and use your hands to add loft back on the face. If you lean to the right you are going to swing up on the ball too much. There is really no reason not to stand neutral with your weight.

  • Make Sure Your Putter Fits Your Stroke

    Get your putter fit!!! In order to develop a consistent putting stroke you need to have a putter that is well fit. That means not only fit to your body, but fit to your stroke as well. If you are constantly hitting the ball on the toe or heel, it will be very tough for you to hit solid putts and build the consistency you need. Also, your putter should match your stroke (arc or straight line). For instance, heel shafted putters as well as mallet styles fit more of an arc stroke.

  • Learn to Rotate the Face Back to Square

    If you are missing putts to the right chances are you are not getting the face back to square. Try over rotating the face on the backswing and learning to rotate it back to square. This will force you to feel the rotation of your forearms and wrists instead of being overly stiff and dead-handed.

  • For Quicker Tempos, Try a Tighter Grip

    If you have a quicker tempo, try a bit of a tighter grip. While we don't want to add tension to the grip and make the swing jerky and inconsistent, a quick tempo can sometimes be difficult to control. Holding the putter too loosely and being quick could cause the face to move in your hands. Adding a bit more pressure will help you maintain better control if this is the case with you.

  • For Slower Tempos Grip Light

    If you have a slower tempo try a lighter pressure on the grip. Tensing up with a slow tempo can cause you to move the putter head all over the place. This results in pushes and pulls as the putter head swings off line. It can also cause the face to open and close too much throughout the swing. A light pressure will let the putter head swing more like a natural pendulum and keep it on line.

  • A Stronger Lead Hand Will Help You Release

    If you tend to push putts to the right try a stronger grip with your lead hand to help rotate the face back to square. For a right handed player this would mean turning your left hand more to the right. Ideally we want to have our palms facing each other in a neutral grip position. If however you are having difficulty getting the face back to square, a slight change by rotating your lead hand can be a big help.

  • Sudden Acceleration Throws Off Consistency

    Keep the back swing and forward swing as one movement to control distance. Any independent movements or sudden acceleration will make speed control very inconsistent. For this reason it is important to let your big muscles (back, shoulders, abdominals) control the stroke. Getting the little muscles of your wrists and hands too involved makes it hard to keep the stroke smooth.

  • Keep Your Elbows Close

    Keep your elbows in closer to your body when putting. This will help you use your big muscles during the stroke. When you stick your elbows out and away from your body, it's easy to slide the arms around independently. Some players will even bend and straighten their arms throughout the stroke. When your elbows are in and closer to your body, it's much easier to keep the arms quite and simply use your shoulders to power the stroke.

  • Looking at the Cup Helps Steady Your Head

    Look at the hole. A major cause of missed short putts is excessive head movement. So instead of trying so hard to keep your head down, in practice, try looking at the cup the entire time. This will stop head movement and keep your focus on the cup. You can then decide if you want to do this only in practice.

  • Does Your Putter Match Your Stroke?

    Make sure to buy a putter that matches your type of stroke. If you move the putter on an arc you will want to get a putter conducive to an arc stroke. This means it may have more weight in the heel, is not face balanced and allows for some face swinging open and closed. If you prefer to move the putter on a straight line you will definitely want a face balanced putter and maybe even one that is center shafted. It's critical to have your equipment match your style so you are not constantly forcing the putter to do something it isn't designed to do.

  • Keep Your Shoulders Low

    Make sure you are relaxed and comfortable. Feel low shoulders. I often see students so tense that their shoulders are up by their ears! This is a sign that there definitely too much tension which will affect the stroke and make it difficult to stay smooth. Take a deep breath, relax and let your shoulders drop down low.

  • Tension Makes For a Jerky Stroke

    Never grip the putter too tight as that will make your stroke rigid. To make a nice smooth pendulum stroke that stays on line, it's important to let the putter swing rather than trying to direct it. When we tense up too much, the muscles in our arms and shoulders can become jerky. That kind of tension can force the putter off line. If your shoulders, arms and hands are relaxed, the stroke will be natural.

  • Play it Forward for Optimum Spin

    Play the ball forward of the center of your stance. This will help control spin which in turn will result in more consistent distance. If you are varying where you play the ball in your stance you will be imparting backspin on some putts and top spin on others. Top spin is ideal. With backspin, the ball may skid at first slowing the initial velocity and overall, you will not get that good accelerating roll to the hole.

  • 3 Putts Are More Common on Downhill Putts

    Practice downhill putts more than uphill. 3 putts happen more often when the first putt is downhill rather than uphill. This is because it can be so difficult to control the speed. By practicing the length of your backstroke on downhill putts on the practice green you will be better able to monitor it on the course.

  • Without a Consistent Tempo, Distance Control is Impossible

    Practice tempo. A good rhythm to practice would be to count 1,2 on the back swing and 3 coming into the ball. The average tempo on the PGA Tour is 84 bpm. You can use a a metronome to test this tempo and see if it's right for you. If it's too fast try slowing it down and vice versa. The important thing is to find a tempo that works for you and get it grooved.

  • Looking Up too Soon Causes Excessive Movement

    Put a coin under your ball. Make sure after you strike the putt that you are still looking at the coin. This will ensure that you are keeping your head still and will help you to make those short putts. The cause of a lot of misses is looking up to quickly which forces body movement and results in pushes and pulls.

  • Use One Hand For Feel

    Putt with one hand to get feel. Many pros use this drill to try to gain more feel and hand eye coordination. More commonly, they use the rear hand. Using the rear hand can also give you a feel for releasing the putter face which will prevent pushes. This will help increase accuracy on short putts.

  • Your Rear Side Applies the Power

    Putt with right hand or rear hand only. The theory here is that it is the rear side that applies the power. In your full swing your left side pulls and your right side pushes (if you are right handed). So if you can develop feel or touch with your right hand only, your distance control will become much more accurate.

  • Reading the Green Correctly is as Important as Picking the Right Speed

    Read for speed. Getting the read right is just as important as getting the speed correct. Consider an up hill right to left breaking putt. If you under read the break it could cause your ball to pick up speed and roll too far. The opposite is true for over reading. If you play it too high, the ball can slow up leaving the putt short.

  • Grip Styles Vary Dramatically

    There is no correct way to grip the putter, only ways that are preferred. Even among professionals grips vary dramatically from player to player. All that matters is that a player's grip is soft, eliminates excessive hand action and helps them to get the putter face back to square at impact.

  • Change Your Backswing to Change Your Distance

    To control distance you can either change the length of your back swing or change the amount of power or "oomf" you put into the putt. I believe varying your back swing length is the easier and a better way to go. Experiment with different back swing lengths and see how far back you need to swing the putter for varying distances.

  • The Bigger Your Grip, the Less Wrists You Use

    To eliminate excessive wrist action try a fatter grip. You can by bigger grips and even huge ones like you may have seen KJ Choi use. You can also use tennis tape to build up your own grip. The more of your palm it takes to hold the grip, the quieter your wrists will be. The more you hold a grip down in your fingers, the more active your wrists will be.

  • Bend From Your Hips Until Your Arms Hang Straight

    To establish solid posture when putting, bend over slightly from your hips until your arms hang down from your shoulders. If you go too far your peripheral vision will be affected and it will be hard to see your line. If you stand up to high your eyes won't be level with the ground and you will tend to look to the right which can cause pushes.

  • Accelerate to Impact

    To hit solid putts and control distance make sure you keep accelerating consistently to impact. It should be a constant acceleration, not a sudden acceleration. Sudden bursts of energy are going to make distance control nearly impossible. Your swing should feel like an even pendulum accelerating just a bit to the ball.

  • Straight Arms Are Preferred

    To make your putting stroke more consistent, I prefer straight arms with putting posture. I believe it helps you move as a one piece pendulum working your shoulders, arms and hands as a unit. I feel that bends in the elbows and wrists at address cause a player to be bendy and wristy during the stroke. If you have had problems controlling your distance or difficulty keeping the face square, try making sure your arms are straight (but not rigid) when you set up and keep them that way throughout the stroke.

  • To Groove Your Stroke Use an Arc

    To perfect your putting stroke get The Putting Arc. It is a very useful tool for indoor practice as well as out on the green. Practicing an arc stroke without a training aid to me is a waste of time. One day you could be making a specific arc shape and the next day it could be different. If however, you are constantly practicing on The Putting Arc, you are grooving the same arc into your stroke on every swing.

  • Hold the Putter in Your Palms

    To prevent excessive movement of the face, make sure you are holding the grip in your palm with your thumbs pointing straight down the shaft. Keeping your palms facing each other ensures a neutral grip. When one hand is turned inward or outward your forearm position is altered. This encourages rotation of your arms and wrists during the stroke which would alter the clubface.

  • The Bigger Your Grip, The Less Wristy You Will Be

    Try a fat grip. If you are having major troubles with speed control, chances are your hands and wrists may be too involved. When the little muscles are over active, it's hard to be consistent. You could try to wrap your grip with tennis grip tape to fatten it up or purchase a new grip altogether like the super fat one that you may have seen K.J. Choi use. The bigger the grip and the more you have to palm it and the stiffer your wrists will be.

  • Fringe Putting Builds Touch

    Try fringe putting. Grab 1 -3 balls and throw them down on the green to begin putting to the fringe. Putt to points all around the green, both long and short, to work on your speed without the pressure of having to hole the putt. Work on uphill, downhill and sidehill putts as well. Eliminating the cup can help you to keep your focus on distance control.

  • Gripping in Your Fingers Makes You More Wristy

    Try to get the grip to sit on your lifelines in each palm. This helps to place the grip in your palms as opposed to your fingers. When you hold a club in your fingers your wrists become more supple and therefore more active. When you grip it in your palms on the other hand your wrists become more stiff and therefore less active.

  • If Your Tempo Varies, Your Distances Will Vary

    Use a metronome for consistency with touch. The average tempo with professionals is 84 beats per minute. Buy a portable metronome and take it out on the green with you set at 84 bpm. On the first beat take the putter back and on the second beat impact the ball. This will build consistency with your touch. This may not be the tempo for you so experiment making it slower and faster until you find what is comfortable. If your tempo is changing from putt to putt you will be varying the amount of pressure you put into the ball as well sending it inconsistent distances.

  • Avoid a Forward Press

    When putting, avoid a forward press at set up. It opens your shoulders to the line and delofts your putter. When your shoulders are open, you will either pull or slice your putts. Also, when you start with a delofted putter face you will tend to want to add loft back on the face by cupping your wrists. It's always best to set up with everything neutral and square.

  • Keep Your Eyes Over the Ball

    When putting, set up with your eyes over the ball or slightly inside the ball. Test this by holding a ball between your eyes at the bridge of your nose and letting it drop and watch where it lands. If your eyes are too far outside the line or too far inside the line it will be difficult for you to see the line. Setting up too close or too far away can also alter your swing path.

  • Set Up Square

    When putting, stand with your feet, knees and shoulders square to the target line. This is best for most players and for consistency. I think that square shoulders and forearms are a must, but if you prefer a slightly open stance with your feet that is ok. When your shoulders are open to the target line, your stroke will follow your shoulders and create a cut stroke.

  • Play Your Ball Forward

    When setting up to putt ,play your ball just forward of your sternum. Check in front of a mirror to make sure you've got it right. Playing a ball back in your stance will make you hit down on the putt. This can cause the ball to bounce. When you position it forward of center you catch it on the up swing and get a smooth roll.

  • Keep Your Arms and Club in a Line

    When setting up to putt, check to make sure that your club shaft and forearms are on the same plane. If you create a big angle between the two and have your club shaft sitting low your wrists will be more active. Having the forearms and club shaft in a straight line helps to keep your wrists quiet and promotes a pendulum motion.

  • Bend From Your Hips, Not Your Waist

    When setting up to putt, create your bend from your hips, not from your waist. A slight knee bend is good too. It is important that you keep your spine straight and bend from your hips so that your shoulders can properly rock back and forth. If you slump from the waist and round your shoulders in it will affect your shoulders' ability to rock like a pendulum.

  • Don't Stop Your Follow Through

    When working on putting length, let your follow through be a bit longer than your back swing. This will keep you from decelerating or quitting on the putts resulting in putts that are left short of the hole. It will also prevent you from the opposite. Stopping too short on the follow through can be a result of getting too choppy or handsy (not letting your shoulders and big muscles control the stroke). This can cause the club head to over accelerate sending the ball too far.

  • Stand With Your Feet 2 Putter Heads Apart

    Your feet should be about two putter faces apart from one another when you set up to a putt. This is typically a natural stance for most players and just how they would stand if they were having a conversation with someone. Standing with your feet closer could make you feel unstable during the stroke and you might lose balance. When it's very windy out you can try a wider stance for more stability.

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