If you can master the simple fundamentals described, you will beat your friends and colleagues in not time!
Putting on the Course
When you are playing a round of golf and you hit your shot onto the green, you will have to mark your ball. To do this you will need a coin (quarter, penny, or anything flat). You will put this behind your ball in line with the hole and pick your ball up as your other playing partners are putting.
Fundamentals for Putting
Set up – most important aspect of putting is being comfortable. We will discuss the “fundamental” set up but if you can “be yourself” with any aspect of the game, it would definitely be putting! As you see in the pictures below, you want to stand with your feet shoulder width apart, with your arms hanging directly below shoulders. Your head/eye position should be above the golf ball when you set up to the putt and look down over it.
Grip – The fundamental grip is really important because it helps the putter head stay square (pointed at the hole) when you hit the golf ball. You will see the picture below, and you want the putter to lie more in the ball of your hands, verse the fingers like we will describe in the full swing and short game portion.
Ball Position – because the putter swings on an “arc” (don’t think too much about that), the bottom of the putting stroke (when you hit the ball) is in the middle of your stance. Therefore, to hit it consistently solid and straight on putts, you want it in the middle of your stance.
At Home Putting Practice
Putting is simple, keep it that way!
Get familiar with the putting stroke before you go to the course for the real thing. The main goal for your putting practice is to get familiar with setting up for a putt. Golf is the most awkward and unconventional sport you will play. If it feels wrong, its probably right!
Training Aids To Speed Up Progress
The Putting Arc is a great tool to help players feel the proper putting stroke. By using this for a few minutes at home every day you can learn the feeling of the correct stroke quickly!
Putting Practice (At the golf course)
Drill 1 – Set Up
It is important to set up properly EVERY TIME you are hitting a putt or shot in golf. After you set up, you need to focus on your breathing and being aware of executing without thinking about your technique. I promise you, if you can be aware of this now, it will eliminate the frustration and bad golf down the road. Remember, set up properly, breath, and relax while holding the putter lightly in your hands!
Set up – Use same setup described above with alignment sticks
Pick a straight putt – when it roles on the ground it will roll straight, not curve to left or right
Place 3 balls, 3 feet away – on the straight putt line you chose
Make 3 putts in a row – from 3 ft.
Make 3 putts in a row – from 6 ft.
The reason we focus on straight, short putts is because:
1. You are able to focus and improve your alignment from short distances
2. Build confidence by making putts you should make
I know you probably got bored with the short putts so I am going to give you a couple tips for practicing longer putts.
1.Grab 1 ball
2.Play 9 holes from between 20-30 feet away from the hole.
3.You will chose a different hole for each putt to get different types of breaks and speeds
4.Before hitting each putt, look at your surroundings to determine which way the putt will break
5.Set up to the ball properly
6.Relax and hit the putt without thinking about technique
7.After the putt, gather feedback if you hit it too far or too short
8.Ask yourself, what would I do differently? (make a shorter swing or a slower swing)
9.Take a practice stroke of what you should have done before going to putt the ball in the hole
10.Hole out on each hole (no gimmies or picking up)
11.Chose a different hole to putt to and repeat the process
The most helpful tip for me and the players I coach is thinking about keeping our body still while putting. Think about it, it is a really small swing, but you would be surprised how many people move their legs and other body parts around when putting! Keep your body still while you feel your arms swing, nothing but your arms are to be moving!
On short putts, keep your eyes looking at where the ball was until you hear the ball hit the bottom of the hole. This makes sure you don’t move too early, even pro’s do this when they putt!
Since I am letting you hit longer putts, here is some helpful information on how to read the greens
Reading putts, determining speed of putts – we will not get too much into this. Starting out, be aware of your surroundings and you will be able to read greens better than most seasoned golfers! If you are playing next to the ocean, figure out where the ocean is. If you are playing next to a huge mountain, find where the mountain is. These natural features create an optical illusion when reading putts.
If you are like me and live in the flattest part of the world, TEXAS, with no beautiful scenary, then you need to pay attention to where the water drains on the ground. When looking at the green, imagine where the water would run if you poured a bucket of water on it. This is the way your putt is going to break when rolling