How to Improve Your Putting
Written By: Lovell Diggins Jr.
As I’ve stated in previous blogs, close to half the strokes taken in a round of golf are putts, yet some fail to gain a good understanding of the process for improving their chances for getting a putt up and down with minimal strokes. If you’re like most golfers, you’ve either watched the professional golfers live or on Television and have noticed that most of the time, no matter where they are on the green, they very seldom 3-putt. They give their full effort every time, and they never talk themselves out of a putt. Look at it this way, there are only two things that can happen—you make it, or you miss it—and I can tell you, the best putters focus on making it, but also on ball position in the event they miss. They want to pretty much improve their odds of making the putt on a second stroke if required.
Everyone can improve their putting, it’s actually the simplest swing you make. There are no bunkers, no out-of-bounds, no rough; you’re on a smooth surface; and the target is right there in front of you. Still, plenty of golfers have a tendency to make mistakes on the green which will cost them strokes. All you really have to do is read the break, determine if it’s an up-hill or a down-hill putt, aim the face of the club at the target line, and make the appropriate stroke based upon the distance.
Sounds easy huh? Well it can be if you have a good putter, routine and feel, which can be developed.
HOW TO APPROACH ANY PUTT
Always Keep the Pre-shot Routine Short and Stay Relaxed
Try to visualize what the ball will do when you putt it. Will it move left, or right? Will it move slow or fast? I recommend looking at putts from 3 angles; 1. From behind the ball, 2. From behind the flag, and 3. From along the side.
You should be able to answer your questions concerning ball movement with these views and also be able to establish your target line. Keep in mind that taking too long to determine the shot will only increase your stress level and invites doubt into your mind, so it’s very important have confidence in what you’re seeing, to remain relaxed and to not tense up.
Now you’re ready to make the putt. You now want to think about ball position, which should be in the inside of your forward heel. This position allows you to strike the ball with a slight up swing which will give the ball over spin. You also want to make sure your eyes are positioned directly over the ball; this will allow you to see the target line more easily.
Lastly, I highly recommend you keep your wrists firm. This is a shoulder hinging, arm movement process that if you allow the wrist to bend, it will significantly impact the accuracy of the putt. I suggest going out to a putting green and repeatedly putt from a 10-15-foot position around the hole just to help develop your feel.
Sweeten Your Touch with this distance control drill
Your muscles depend on signals from your brain about how hard to hit a putt. A good drill to practice to help ingrain a sense of distance involves taking 10-15 balls and position yourself about 40 feet from the edge of the green.
Practice putting the balls as close as possible to the edge of the green without going onto the fringe. You don’t want to putt towards a hole at this point because it will distract your train of thoughts concerning distance.
Measure your success by the number of balls you can putt into a specific range that will vary depending upon the distance you’re putting from. You can measure what that range shall be and mark it with a couple tees. Target should be 50% in that range target area in order to claim success.
You want to practice this drill from different distances, so make sure you move to 35, 30, 25, 20, 15-foot areas and follow the same process. Again, this is a shoulder hinging and arms moving process, so remove any wrist movement, which will significantly affect your ability to manage distance control.
There are many elements associated with the ability to successfully play the game of golf. Putting is just one small piece of the pie that if practiced correctly will allow for the development of good muscle memory which will reduce the over thinking that occasionally takes place and will contribute to lowering your overall score.