Putting is such an important golfing skill. You can have a powerful swing and mighty drives, but if you can’t cut it when you get to the green, your game will suffer.
Every player can make a few changes to improve their putting, and in this article we’ll be looking at some tips and tricks to help you sink the ball more easily and consistently.
The simple fact of the matter is that your putting ability is often the difference between winning or losing a game, so it’s vital to do all you can to ensure that you feel as confident as possible when you arrive at the end of each hole.
Understanding What Makes a Good Putter
First, let’s look at some major differences between what makes a good putter and a bad putter. A big issue is consistency. Many golfers try something a couple of times and then switch their technique if they don’t get instant results. However, experienced golfing instructors will often encourage players to stick with their strokes and keep practicing, rather than changing all the time.
Like in any sport, repetition is key and you won’t get better without performing the same action over and over. The same is true of the club; bad putters will blame the equipment and change their putter all the time, whereas better players will stick with their club of choice and make it work.
A good putter will also have confidence in their ability. A big part of golf is the mental game, and you need to trust yourself to make the right calls.
Even when things are going badly, keeping your head in the game and having the right mindset can help enormously. Bad putters will lack confidence, and even when things are going well for them, they’ll attribute their success to ‘luck’ or some other factor, rather than giving themselves credit.
It might sound like an intangible factor, but the mental side of your game is very important and there are plenty of ways to boost your confidence and have more faith in your ability.
Jordan Spieth draining the 91 FOOT PUTT!!!! Longest of his career #SonyOpen
— Always Pressing POD (@alwayspressDFS) January 13, 2018
Improve Your Putting Stroke
Now let’s look at some more technical tips to improve your putting. At a base level, putting is a simple art and you don’t need to overcomplicate it. Stick with these very basic thoughts and you will close the gap on Jordan Spieth one putt at a time.
The key is to find a simple technique that works for you, allowing you to swing in a consistent arc and strike the ball cleanly each time.
The way you swing the club will be determined by the rotation of your upper body, particularly your shoulders.
The arms and hands themselves should be relatively relaxed during the stroke to keep the putter stable; rely on your shoulders to generate the swing.
Similarly, your head, neck, and lower body should not move at all. Any movement in these areas will cause inconsistency in your swing.
Maintaining Angles With Forearms and Shaft of Putter
Another key point here is to hold the club in such a way that your forearms and the shaft of the club are parallel to one another. The idea is to almost make your forearms an extension of the club, keeping it all lined up to achieve the highest level of consistency in your swing.
Your shoulders, meanwhile, should be parallel to the line you want to hit. Your neck should be almost horizontal, giving your shoulders additional freedom to move and, again, ensuring that your swing is straight and consistent.
The most important thing is to keep the rest of your body as still as possible. The slightest movement of hands or arms can affect your swing, so try to focus on only moving your shoulder muscles.
The next key aspect to work on is your touch: this is how you adjust the distance of your shots. A big part of developing touch is practice and repetition. Good instructors will encourage players to perform ‘feel drills’, which involve hitting the ball difference distances to work out how it feels to create those differing amounts of power on impact.
You’ll often see professional and amateur players alike taking rehearsal or practice swings before actually hitting the ball, and this is when they’re testing out their swing to get the right feel for the shot. A good way to practice is to set up several balls at differing distances from the hole and then try making each putt.
Create Your Own Pre-Putt Routine and Always Complete It
The final step is to work out your own personal putting routine and stick to it. Again, when you watch the pros play, they don’t just walk up to the green and hit the ball, they all have their own rituals to prepare the shot before actually taking it.
A good tip to start off is to walk around the green and get a feeling for the surface and slope. Try to learn as much as you can about the shot before actually playing it. When you’re ready to actually try putting the ball, visualize the line you want to play and stick to it.
Adjust your body accordingly to match up with that line. Then, as mentioned above, take a few rehearsal strokes to get the feel for the distance you need to cover. Finally, prepare to actually strike the ball.
Ensure that your body is in the perfect position and that you remain still, relying only on your shoulders to generate the swing.
If you blank out on the entire article and can only take one bit with you: make it the understanding that a great putter has great confidence. If you get over top of the ball and lose confidence you will in turn lose focus and start pushing and pulling putts like crazy.