Think about it, in your opinion, what’s the most important thing in successful putting – speed or break?
Well, being great a both would be fantastic of course, but the majority of all great putters say that speed is the most important of the two.
If your putting speed is right, then there’s always a chance the ball will drop into the hole and, with good speed control, you should benefit from having a very manageable second putt – if the first one doesn’t drop. On the other hand, if your speed if off, you’ll be leaving it short — and balls left short never go in the hole (this is the truth!) — or you risk running the ball way past the hole.
Another way to emphasise the point – more bad things can happen if you can’t control your speed on the greens. Fewer bad things can happen when you improve your speed control.
Below are some examples of putting speed control drills that
will help you improve your feel for speed on the putting green.
String It Out – Lag Putting Drill
The basics drills are as follows:
Cut multiple pieces of string, each piece about three feet long.
Lay the string out on a putting green, evenly spaced, each string about three feet apart, across your chosen putting line.
Start about 10 feet behind the first string…..now putt a ball and try to roll it just over the first string. Now putt a second ball and try to roll it just over the second string and so on. When you reach the last string, start working your way back to the first string.
Once you become good at stopping balls in-between the
string, start varying the distances – put to the first string, then the fifth,
then the third, then the last, and so on, varying your distances.
This drill not only takes your mind off the line, it also
takes your mind off a target and allows you to focus on speed and feel.
5-Ball Mix-It Drill
This speed and distance putting drill is similar to the
string drill above, except that in this one we are putting at a hole.
Drop balls at 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 feet from a
Now start from 10 feet and putt to the hole,
making sure that if you don’t sink the putt, you leave the ball no more than
three feet from the hole.
Now go back to 50 feet and do the same. Then
continue from each distance, but don’t go in order – mix up the distances, from
10 to 50 to 30 to 40 to 20 to 40 to 10 to 30 and so on, in random order.
The goal is to leave yourself no more than three feet from
the cup with all your misses. Great distance control equals great lag putting,
which means no 3-putts.
Close Your Eyes to Improve Putting Feel
This unusual drill is also recommended by various instructors
and the basics are as follows:
Place three balls, each at distances of 10, 20,
30, 40 and 50 feet from your target, then putt toward a hole, a tee marker in
the ground, the fringe of the green, a coin or anything you wish to use.
At each three ball location, putt the first ball
as you normally would…..but for the second and third balls at each location,
set up with your eyes open but then close your eyes just before making the
This drill will help improve your feel on the greens.
2-Putt Speed Control Drill
When golfers talk about lag putting, we mean that while we
hope to make every putt we also want to make sure that if we miss we are left
with a short, easy putt. Good lag putting means never 3-putting. This drill
forces you to control your speed in order to guarantee a 2-putt.
Set up 30 feet from the hole.
Putt five balls at a time. Then walk to the cup
and knock the balls in.
Make 50 consecutive 2-putts. If you 3-putt,
start over again.
This drill not only teaches lag putting, it also gets you
into pressure situations. Imagine making 48 2-putts in a row…….putts 49 and 50
are really going to test your nerves.
Don’t be too hard on yourself, if you have too much trouble
making 50 2-putts in a row from 30 feet, then start from a shorter distance.
Try from 20 feet first and then move out to 30 when you are comfortable 2-putting
from 20 feet.
A good drill, just using the fringe of the green.
Get five balls and drop them 10 feet from the edge of the green.
Putt toward the fringe – don’t worry about putting at a hole, just focus on speed and feel. Try to get each ball to roll about one foot onto the fringe without leaving any short and without running any beyond the fringe into the rough.
Back up to 20 feet and repeat, then repeat again at 30 and 40 feet….
That’s it for now, putting speed control drills will
definitely improve your putting and your scores, so get to it and see for
A “lag putt” is a long putt which, because of its length, the golfer does not expect to make but hopes to get close to the cup. If it goes in the hole, great! But if it doesn’t, you want to make sure you are left with a short, manageable second putt that you won’t miss.
A good lag putt positions the golfer to have a short, simple
and easily made follow-up putt, thereby avoiding the dreaded three-putt.
Another way to think of lag putting – it refers to demonstrating
excellent distance control on the putting greens when a long or tricky putt
requires caution, so that you leave your golf ball in a safe position. A golfer
who is a good lag putter is a golfer who rarely three-putts.
Note that the terms “lag putt” and “lag
putting” are often shortened to just “lag” and
Better Lag Putting to Improve your Golf Scores.
Improving your lag putting is a great way to shoot lower
scores. Why? Because if you can improve your lag putting, you’ll be turning
three putts into two.
The first thing a player should do on a practice putting
green before a round is to hit a dozen or more lag putts to get a feel for the speed
of the green. Making them is great, but concentrate more on the distance and
speed of the putt to get the ball to stop near the hole.
An old and excellent guide for lag putts is to try to hit
them into a 45 gallon barrel instead of the hole – that is, imagine the hole is
the size of a 45 gallon barrel. Aiming at the bigger target will give you a far
better chance of leaving a two or three-foot second putt.
In putting we are mostly focused on direction rather than
distance. We set up to the ball with our feet, hips and shoulders aligned
parallel to our target line. This is the recommended position when you are
putting for accuracy. However, the way your eyes are aligned, makes it
difficult to judge the distance accurately.
In lag putting distance is more important than direction.
While it is unlikely that you will miss the hole by more than three feet left
or right, you are more likely to leave your putt short.
When you are bent over the ball, turning your head sideways
to judge the distance to the hole is not the best way to gain perspective. To
judge distance accurately you need to stand taller with your eyes more towards
level so you can look straight down the path of your putt with binocular
vision. To accomplish this you need to adopt a modified setup position and
possibly your grip.
You will also want to free the arms and shoulders to swing
back further and come through harder to give the ball a good strong rap without
pulling it off line.
A good tip for reading long putts is to go halfway between
your ball and the hole, and look both ways. You can judge distance better when
you look at something with both eyes. This is because our brain uses the angle
at which our eyes are converged – how much they are pointing towards each other
– to calculate the distance between objects. So, you should be able to judge
the distance and see the slope, if there is any, clearly from that position.
Tips on Technique
Stand tall, but choke down a little on the grip.
Assume a narrow stance with slightly more weight
on your left side.
Position the ball between your feet and stand
closer to it.
Open your stance and turn your body more to face
Putt the ball in the normal way.
Lag or Long Putting requires constant practice. However,
with a modified setup position that gives you better perspective, you will be
less likely to three-putt in the future.
Practice, Practice & Practice
Lag putting is something that can be practiced by focusing
on distance control (also called speed control) in your putting. Having a sense
of distance is important to rolling your ball close enough for an easy tap-in.
On the golf course there are fixed markers to help you with
full iron shots, however, on the green you are on your own.
Distance control putting drills help a golfer develop a feel
for speed. As stated above, hitting lag putts on the practice green before
starting a round of golf is recommended to see how fast or slow the on-course
greens are rolling.
And practicing by hitting putts to different distance
markers, rather than at a hole, is as easy as taking different lengths of
string or chalk line to a practice green…
That’s it for today.
I hope you found this article informative and that it will
help you improve your scores.
In the USA the term “Flatstick” is a golf slang
term for the putter, because putter clubfaces appear as though they are flat, relative
to all the other golf clubs. In other words, putters look like they have no
All the other golf clubs have very noticeable amounts of loft, sometimes a high loft and sometimes a low loft. Other than the putter, the driver is the least-lofted golf club and, for most golfers, will have between 9 and 13 degrees of loft. On the other end of the scale, the lob wedge is the most-lofted club, typically from 60 to 64 degrees.
However, it turns out that the term “flatstick” is really a misnomer. Putters aren’t flat. They do have loft — just not much of it — and the amount of loft on golf putters does really matter and will have an impact on your golf game. For example, if you putt and the ball tends to bounce or skip, that’s a sign that the loft of your putter might not be well-suited to your putting style.
Loft In the ‘Flatstick”
You’ll rarely see a putter coming on the market with as little as zero degrees of loft – which really is a “flatstick”! Equally, it’s rare to find a putter with as much as 8 degrees of loft. The standard loft of putters sold in pro shops is 3 degrees to 4 degrees.
On the pro tours, the world’s best golfers use putters with
as little as one degree of loft to as high as six or seven degrees of loft. But
the goal of the pros is to have an “effective loft” — the loft of
their putter as it sits at the moment of impact — of three to four degrees. An
effective loft of 3-4 degrees is considered the ideal loft.
Why Loft In Putters Matters
The gist of it is this:
If your putter has too much loft, the ball will come up off
the putter face at impact – it will get airborne for a fraction of a second –
which can play havoc with your distance control. None of us want the ball to
hop up at impact.
If your putter has too little loft – if it really is too
much of a “flatstick” – then, at impact, your putter face might actually be pressing
the ball into the turf a bit, which can cause various effects including a putt
that skids or skips.
The object with putting strokes and loft is to send the ball
on as smooth a roll as possible, from the earliest possible moments after
impact. “Pure roll” is what every golfer wants out of his or her
Ideal Putter Loft Is Impacted By Your Stroke, Stance and Even the Greens
What loft do you need in your putter?
Well, that’s affected by several factors, most prominently
the type of stroke you have and your stance, but also by the conditions of the
greens you typically putt on.
There’s the actual, measured loft of a putter and there is also, as mentioned earlier, the “effective loft.” A golfer who uses a forward press when putting is de-lofting the putter – that is, the putter arrives at impact with less effective loft than its stated, measured loft.
So a golfer with a forward press might need a putter with a
higher stated, measured loft.
Likewise, a golfer whose stroke with the putter reaches impact on a slightly upward arc, might need a putter with a lower stated, measured loft.
So, it follows, that a golfer whose stroke is level at
impact probably has roughly the same effective loft as the putter’s stated
If you play the ball off your front foot when putting, less
loft may be better – because you may be impacting the ball on a slight upswing.
If you use a long putter, less loft might be in order – because
long putters tend to strike the ball on the way up.
Perfect greens — smooth, great rolling — require less loft
in putters. Higher loft may help on bumpy greens and otherwise poor greens.
Launch Angle and Putter Fitting
Launch angle is something most golfers associate with drivers or other woods and hybrids. But it matters in putting, too.
The consensus is that a launch angle of three to four
degrees is the ideal for putting – which explains why standard putter loft in
off-the-shelf putters is 3-4 degrees.
Something you read in this article might prompt you towards a beneficial change in your putter loft. But the fool proof way to know whether your putter loft is well matched to your putting style, is to visit a golf club fitter for an expert putting fitting.
Most of us associate golf club fitting with the other golf clubs in our bag, but putter fitting can also be highly beneficial, and that’s why more and more golfers who want to improve their putting are getting fitted by an expert.
Hope you found this article helpful or informative.
As we all know, one of the most frustrating things on a golf course is 3 putting. You have had a good drive from the tee box, hit a lovely iron onto the green and were looking good for a birdie but definitely a par……..but, sadly, moments later you walk away with a bogey. Three putts from 15 feet – not nice!
The dreaded “3 putt” is never far away and can pounce on any unsuspecting golfer, so any help or tips on how to stop 3 putting at golf are very welcome by most golfers
I’m sure you have had the experience of shooting three shots to cover 500 yards and then another three to get into the hole from 25 feet. It’s like a kick in the gut and a real wake-up call, especially when you think about the fact that 3 of the 6 shots you played on that hole were played with your putter.
Suddenly you realise there is something not quite right with your putting technique and that issue must be addressed without delay. Otherwise, 3 putting will continue to destroy many perfectly good rounds of golf that should have been enjoyable rather than frustrating. Once you follow up a 3 putt with another one you immediately start to lose confidence and momentum. How true the old saying “you drive for show and putt for dough” is and it resonates as you trudge off the green embarrassed and humiliated! The truth is, no one enjoys squandering strokes so this article has been written to help eliminate those 3 putts from your score. So read on to discover seven drills to stop 3 putting.
Why Are You 3 Putting?
We will get into the drills, tips and instructions to improve your putting in a moment but we also want to look at the key problem areas that are making you 3 putt. The four main keys to avoid 3 putting are:
Good pace control
Consistent distance control
Skills to successfully read putting lines on greens
Ability to hole short putts.
There is no doubt that we tend to 3 putt most when the putts are over 30 feet and it makes sense to conclude – good distance control is the most important of these four keys to improving your putting.
Think about it, your first putt on a green will either decrease or increase the chances of you three putting.
This is obvious and naturally you will feel an element of pressure as you make the putt. How successful you are will largely depend on how well you can lag the putt to the hole with a good degree of distance control. This assumes that, like most golfers, you have read the line well enough so that the ball won’t be more than 3 foot wide of the line of the putt. In addition your putter acceleration and deceleration were as you intended in terms of getting a good pace on the ball. On the whole we can make these assumptions, particularly on fairly flat greens but there are exceptions, like where the slope of the green plays a major part in causing you to 3 putt on fairly short putts.
Let me ask you one question. Are you familiar with the situation regarding downhill putts where you can be a bit too aggressive and the ball flies past the hole? The natural response to this is, don’t be as aggressive with your return putt. This is a wrong attitude to take. You are now faced with an uphill putt and the reverse of what led you to roll the ball past in the first place, so the lesson is don’t be timid on your second putt. The reason the ball rolled past the hole was the slope and this is still the main factor why you missed, this has not changed, except you are now putting up the slope. It may seem obvious but human nature often tries to trip us up if we’re not too careful, by subconsciously warning us not to be as aggressive with the second putt. Another exception is when a golfer is careless as they take aim with their long putts or they incorrectly read the green altogether. However, overall, distance control is usually the main culprit to three putting rather than accuracy.
Your total number of putts per round will generally reduce
over time far more from improving your distance control than any other factor.
Quite simply a lack of distance control means you will run the ball straight
pass the hole or leave it well short by more than 3 feet.
Drills To Stop 3 Putting
Generally, tour professionals average about one 3 putt per two rounds of golf, whereas the average amateur golfer will 3 putt three or four times per round. It can be quite incredible to watch the professional’s hole one putt after another with monotonous regularly. Without doubt this further enhances their positive mindset to continue to hole even more putts and in the process build a greater level of confidence in their game.
The following drills have been designed to equally increase
your confidence on the golf course. When used correctly they will remove the
nervousness and anxiety you can often feel over putts. You will no longer find
yourself hesitating over the ball but instead be confident of two putting at
the very least.
Drill #1. Imagine a 3 foot circle around the hole.
Practice putting long putts by visually increasing the size of the target by imagining a 3 foot circle around the hole. This helps minimize the stress of trying to hole the putt because your emphasis is now on the easier task of putting the ball within the circle. This reduction in anxiety and new found confidence of simply rolling the ball into a larger target has the direct result of significantly increasing your chances of sinking your second putt.
This same technique can be used on the practice green from a
distance of 30 feet from the hole. Once you have putted three balls into the
imaginary 3 foot circle, it’s recommended you pace off another 10 feet and
start the drill again……continuing to work your way up to 60 feet from the hole
on the practice green.
Drill #2. Place a club behind the hole.
This is another great drill for improving your distance
control. This is more rigorous than the first one because you are penalised for
leaving your putt short. Start by grabbing 5 tees and place the first one 15
feet from the hole, then place the remaining tees at intervals of a further 5
feet from the hole so as they are all in a line. On completion the fifth tee
should be 35 feet from the hole. Next place a golf club 3 feet behind the hole,
lying perpendicular to the line of tees.
Now take 3 golf balls and and putt from a point alongside
the tee nearest to the hole. The aim is to either hole the putt or have it
finish in front of the golf club as it runs past the hole. If any of your putts
stop short of the hole or hit the golf club behind the hole, you need to start
again with all 3 balls from the tee you were putting from. Once you have
successfully completed the drill from 15 feet you should putt 3 balls from the
tee placed 20 feet from the hole. Remember you can only move onto the next tee,
another 5 feet from the hole, when you have putted all 3 balls either in the
hole or within the 3 feet behind the hole.
Drill #3. Use the practice green fringe.
On a practice putting green take 3 golf balls and place a
tee 15 feet from the fringe. Now putt each ball so as each one stops on the
edge of the fringe. Follow this up with repeating the process but this time
keep your eyes shut whilst you make all 3 putts and don’t look up to see where
the ball has gone. This drill will help you control your distance. Now repeat
putting the 3 balls with your eyes open. You will get an enhanced feel for
distance using this drill. You should then continue this drill and move further
way from the fringe in intervals of 5 foot.
Drill #4. Practice long putts for pace and distance control.
Do you find it strange that, before we go out to play a round, most people out on the putting green are practicing 6 foot putts and shorter. Surely it makes more sense to concentrate on the 30 and 40 foot putts so as you have the pace and distance wired into your brain from the start. Therefore, it’s recommended your concentrate on the longer putts before you go out to play. Getting the feel for the speed of putts is vitally important to reducing the number of times you 3 putt. Further to this you can practice 50 foot putts with a friend where the closest wins the hole……this teaches you to relish long putts and not be afraid of them.
Drill #5. Develop a solid contact.
Use this drill to concentrate on your technique and develop a repeatable stroke. Start by taking 3 golf balls and stand 30 feet from the hole. For the first putt, try to hole it as you would normally and then for the next two don’t look up to see where the hole is. This will increase your feel. You will develop an awareness of how far your ball goes based on the length of your putting stroke.
The longer the putt the more important it is to make solid
contact in terms of getting the distance control right. A poorly struck long
putt will come up short and increases the pressure on yourself to hole the next
putt which more than likely will be more than 3 feet from the hole.
Drill #6. Improve your putting technique to stop 3 putting
You need to appreciate the personal nature of putting and
what feels natural to one person may not be for another. In fact putting well
will not even depend on your athletic build or fitness. Your own putting
success will be down to developing a consistent action.
Ask yourself is your poor technique causing you to putt badly. Do you change your setup from one putt to the next? Do you have a comfortable putting stance and also, do you tick all the boxes in terms of correct putting alignment where you make sure your shoulders and feet are parallel to your target line.
It is important to carefully determine whether you have all of the fundamentals correct. On the practice green it’s recommended you work on developing a consistent repeatable stroke. Learn to stroke the ball and not push it. Furthermore, develop a pre-shot routine that you can repeat even under the toughest of pressure.
One final tip on technique. Regardless of your grip (reverse overlap, cross handed or claw) you should concentrate on creating a pendulum motion where you keep your hands quiet in the swing. A good pointer is to check your hands at the end of your putt. Your left wrist (non-dominant) should stay straight, whilst your right wrist (dominant) should be bent. Be sure to correct your wrists if this is not the case.
Drill #7. Stop three putting by improving your short game.
Lastly, it’s true to say that, even when we are only 70 yards from the hole the majority of us will still leave the ball more than 20 feet from the hole and thereby putting ourselves into 3 putt territory.
It therefore stands to reason that, by improving your chipping and pitching, you will reduce the length of your putts and the number of times you 3 putt. Typically a high handicapper holes 75% of their 3 foot putts so, the closer you pitch, the more often you can be certain of getting within 3 feet of the hole with your first putt and then holing the second one.
I hope you found this article both informative and helpful. Most likely you won’t eliminate 3 putts completely but by reducing the number of times it happens, your scores will improve dramatically.
Practicing and developing any good golf stroke can be a
challenge and make you feel like you have to master numerous different tasks.
From getting the bend in your knees, to the angle of your clubface and the
position of your wrists…….there are dozens of tasks and movements that can
either make or break your golf stroke.
Putting is no different.
As you will see from the other pages and posts on my website, I try my best to reduce these complex movements into simple, understandable tips that can make a real difference to your putting game. It’s surprising how a few basic drills can help you train your body to do the right things naturally.
With that in mind, I’m going to share these 2 easy putting tips which are among my favourites. These tips are very simple exercises that can have a major impact on your putting. The first tip will help you finally fix a bad habit that afflicts many amateur golfers and most of them already know they have this problem. The second tip will help with your putting “angle of attack” and, again, simple and easy to practice.
So, let’s get started…
Tip #1: Keep Your Head Still – using a golf tee.
After you have missed yet another putt, it’s not very helpful when someone says “don’t move your head.”
Now, you should not move your head during a putting stroke and what they said was surely correct. The problem is, it’s a negative comment that complicates the issue by placing your focus on the error without following up and suggesting a specific solution. That’s why I want you to stop reminding yourself to “not move your head” and instead think positively of “keeping your head still”. Or, more specifically, keep your gaze on your golf ball’s position at setup.
Here is a simple drill to help you fight that instinct to move your head. All you need is a ball, a putter, and a single golf tee.
The Putting Tee Drill:
Take your setup position.
Hold a clean golf tee in your teeth with the end pointing down at your golf ball.
When you take your putt, keep the tee pointed at the original position of the ball until the ball is gone….
It’s as simple as that. Just by focusing on pointing that tee at one spot, you give yourself a new task that keeps your mind and your eyes from wandering toward the target. As a result, your head stays down, your position stays steady and you maintain control over your stroke.
Practice this drill regularly and soon you won’t have to remind yourself of the same old comment you’ve heard hundreds of times…….”don’t move your head”
Tip #2: Master the Perfect Angle Of Attack – using a Pen.
I am about to give you details of a little known tip that
you probably never heard of before now. If you are having problems with your
putting, this little-known tip might be just what you are looking for.
Whether you’re putting style is an “Arc” motion or a “pendulum” motion, you want an equal length and rhythm on both sides of the stroke as you pull back and follow through. You’ve probably heard a lot of advice regarding the length, rhythm, and shape of your putting stroke but, most probably, you have not heard about the “angle of attack”.
“Angle of attack” may be a familiar phrase to you in other aspects of this great game, but not when it comes to putting. Normally, when we talk about “angle of attack” we are talking about improving your driving. When you want to send your golf ball further down a nice, long fairway, you want to hit the ball on an upward motion…….then that upward arc is your “angle of attack”.
However, it may surprise you, that “angle of attack” is just
as important in putting. I like a slight upward arc through impact on a putt
but I don’t want to get into that detail just now because putting is a much
smaller motion, details like “angle of attack” can become complicated and difficult
to get a feel for.
Instead, I’m going to give you a drill that will help you master the ideal “angle of attack” for putting without forcing you to overthink it. All you need is a ball, a putter and a Pen.
The Pen Drill:
Place the Pen on the ground about 6-8 inches behind the golf ball, with the length of the Pen running parallel to your shoe line.
Practice making putts without hitting the Pen with your putter.
The instructions are simple, though it may take you a few
tries to get it right.
You may find that you keep hitting the Pen on the backstroke. This is an indication that you’re keeping the putter too low. That error will cause the ball to hop up and skid. Alternatively, you may have no trouble clearing the Pen on the backstroke, but then you hit it as you swing through. This is a clue that you’re creating a descending blow at impact and that’s not what you want.
Keep working this drill until you are creating an even
stroke that consistently clears the Pen in both directions. Once you accomplish
this, you will have changed the angle of your putter at impact. A better “angle
of attack” can significantly improve your putting and this drill can help you
do it without analysing your every motion.
With so many rules and technicalities to consider on every stroke, sometimes it seems like improving your putting game is nearly impossible. The key is to take it one step at a time and work with simple drills that help you get these adjustments into your body. That helps you to focus properly on the ball and get that ball into the hole.
The 2 easy putting tips and drills I’ve detailed above will help you keep your head down, master that “angle of attack” and get you on the road to being consistantly better at putting.
That’s it for today, hope you found this article helpful.
Looking back, it was about twenty five years ago, when I was
a manager in a construction, installation and service company within the
petroleum industry. My hobbies at that time were snooker and football but I was
in decent shape and always very competitive in any game I tried.
I started getting some opportunities and invitations to play
golf with work colleagues and business associates but, honestly, at the time I
had no clue how to play golf and I definitely couldn’t stomach the idea of being
whipped on the course by some pudgy, self-obsessed client or work colleague for
So, I decided to learn how to play this golf game that everybody
was talking about.
Instruction And Practice
My instructor showed me all the fundamentals of golf from teeing off to putting and then told me to practice, practice and practice, first at the golf range and then on a local course. He also told me what golf clubs are needed for golf and actually helped me find a really good set of second-hand clubs.
After about a year of practice and playing, I had developed
some consistency in my golf game and I was getting more confident by the day.
One day, like many in the past, I popped down to my local public course with
the idea that I would play a round on my own and work on some parts of my game
that needed attention. Then, just as I was getting ready to tee off, an elderly
gentleman approached me and asked if it would be alright if he joined me……..I
said, of course and that I’d welcome the company.
This Fellow Looked The Worse For Wear
In truth, this fellow looked a bit the worse for wear. He
had worn out golf shoes, baggy, wrinkled pants and an old Titleist hat that had
seen better days.
The thing that most struck me though, was that he didn’t carry
a bag but this strange little contraption that looked like a hanger with three
bottom bars, each holding a golf club—three clubs in all.
With just about fifteen months under my belt, I am still a
very raw recruit to this game but I’m thinking this guy must be a rank
beginner. So, after some small talk and introductions, we teed off.
I settled right in and for the first three holes I was
crushing my driver and getting to the green in really good shape. The old gent
complimented me several times and helped to further boost my already expanding ego.
As for him, well he was struggling but did recover well on a number of
After I parred the third hole and we were walking towards the 4th Tee box, I was surprised when he said, “care to make it more interesting?” By now, my head was far too big for my hat, so I’m thinking I have an opportunity here and there’s no harm making a bit of pocket money. I said, “Sure, how about 5 Euro a hole?” “That’s not interesting,” he said, “let’s make it 20, birdies are double.” Jackpot, I thought.
The Real Competition Starts
For the remainder of the round this old “rank beginner” guy
hit his 3-wood effortlessly right down the middle of the fairway, about 230-240
yards every time he needed to. Then he would take out his seven iron and drop
the ball within 12 feet of the hole and, to my amazement, he would then par or
birdie the hole – every time.
By the seventh hole, I had lost all my confidence and I was
spraying the ball all over the course. I really had fallen apart and just
wanted the game to end and, eventually, it did.
When we finished I owed him over 200 Euros!
As I approached, he said “no son” and refused to accept my
money. Then he said, “Let that be a lesson, son. Anyone carrying just three
clubs has reduced this game to its essence and is a master hustler.”
You Only Need Three Clubs
Let me tell you why you only need a 3-wood, a seven iron and a putter.
The three wood can give you adequate distance
off the tee and is much easier to control than the driver. Plus, you can also
hit the ball off the fairway or in light rough with good results.
A skilled golfer can hit a seven iron 180 yards
or they can chip it in from the fringe and
If you learn to use the putter, you can make up
many shots once you are on the green.
3-Wood, 7 Iron & Putter
Wouldn’t be enough for me but I do see the logic. Although, I
have played in “two club” competitions and it’s surprising what you can do when
you are limited to just two clubs.
Sometimes, maybe we over complicate the game…..…food for thought.
That’s it for today…..this may not have been what you were expecting, but I hope you liked the story.
This week, I am not going to talk about how to putt on fast greens with varying contours or any other such tips but, instead, today I want to give you some putting stroke tips and discuss the importance of understanding your putting stroke before deciding which putter to use.
When you watch professional golfers playing to their best
form, you will notice they have unconditional confidence in their putting and that
starts with using the right equipment. When you watch these professionals, pay
attention not just to each player’s putting stroke, but also to their posture
and the type of putter they use. All these things are related and they might just
be the deciding factor in who wins a particular tournament.
But before we go any further, I want you to think about how your putter path would appear from a “birds eye view”….imagine you are looking down from the top of your garage at your putting stroke!
Basic Putting Styles
There are two basic types of putting styles – yes, I know there
are additional variations but this is a short post so bear with me:
A) Straight Back and Straight Through Stroke – Pendulum
B) Arc Putting Stroke
The closer you are to the ball (eyes over the ball), the more likely you’ll have a Straight Back and Straight Through arc. The further away you are from the ball, the more likely you’ll have an Arc Putting Stroke. Before you decide what type of putter you should purchase you need to determine what putting style you believe in.
For me, generally speaking, I like to see the putter path
move slightly inside the target line—to square at impact—to slightly inside the
target line at finish. This style of putting is often referred to as arc
Straight Back and Straight Through is as simple as it sounds. The putter moves straight-back-straight-through on the target line with no rotation.
Professionals tend to favour arc putting. Why do I say that, because that is what I see week after week from the best putters on tour.
Commit Physically & Mentally
You must decide which putting style works best for you. Whatever you decide, you must be one hundred percent committed to that style of putting, both physically and mentally.
One of the quickest ways to get the putting yips is to believe you putt one way (for example, straight-back-straight-through) when in fact you are actually putting the exact opposite way (on an arc) or vice-versa. This conflict between what you believe you are doing and what you are actually doing can cause serious problems with your putter, your putting and ultimately with your score.
Putter Type To Suit Putting Stroke
If you are a straight
back-straight through putter, you would likely benefit from a
If you swing the putter in
an arc, you would likely benefit from a heel-toe balanced putter or a
Here’s an easy test to tell them apart:
Balance the putter lengthwise on your finger approximately 6
inches from the putter hosel, if the putter face points straight up, then it is
a face-balanced putter.
Alternatively, if the toe points diagonally down, then it’s
a heel-toe balanced putter, and if the toe points straight down, it’s a
Face-balanced putter example – Mallet putters like the
Heel-toe balanced putter example – Putters in the style of
the Ping Anser and the Scotty Cameron Newport.
Heel-weighted putter example – the Wilson 8802 and the Yonex
ADX putters. Like the style Phil Mickelson used when he first came on tour, he
now uses a modified version made by Odyssey. Likewise, the putter that Tiger
Woods is using at present is most likely a heel-weighted putter. These putters
are ideal for players who stand more upright and really swing their putter on
an arc. Ben Crenshaw is another classic example of this style putter.
However, if you swing on an arc but bend more from your
hips, then a heel-toe balanced putter would most likely be the best fit for
Rory McIlroy is a great example of a player who putts with a
lot of rotation and uses a putter that encourages that. On the other hand,
Jason Day uses a putter that would benefit a straight back-straight through
Believe me, I am not saying you can’t be a good putter using
a face-balanced putter with an arc stroke or a heel-weighted putter with a
straight-back-straight-through stroke…..I’m talking generally and what I
believe happens with the majority of golfers who putt well consistently.
Try all types of putting stroke tips and putters – what matters most is what looks best, feels best and gives you confidence when you stand over a putt…..check out my page on best golf putters.
Most likely, you’ll have already noticed, that there are subtle differences between puttingtechnique and skill improvement practice.
You should do your best to have both these practice types in your putting routine but, in this article, we are going to focus on golf skills improvement and we need to ensure the following points are in place:
Our focus is on optimising shot outcome, not technique.
Practice sessions challenge a particular attribute or a set of attributes.
Practice performance is measurable.
Practice can continually be made more difficult as we improve.
So what does this skill improvement practice look like? Actually, pretty simple…..
“Round the Clock” Practice
Getting setup for this practice is simple as it only involves placing 6 ball markers or tees at a distance of one putter length from the hole, spaced in a rough circle around the hole…at approx. 12 o’clock, 12.10, 12.20, 12.30, 12.40 and 12.50, thus the name “round the clock”.
You then place a ball at each marker in preparation for the first skill practice. This skill improvement practice game, continues to receive great feedback from coaches and players alike. While round the clock is simple to set up, it is acknowledged as a great putting practice game.
Where To Start
You’re not going to like this and regardless of whether you’re a beginner or a low handicapper, start this game from one putter length away (3ft) from the hole. Your aim is then to work around the hole and putt all six balls successfully, if you miss, you must start over again.
In my heart, I know many of you won’t be able to do this on the 1st, 2nd or even on a 3rd attempt. So, take your time on each putt.
Stand behind, figure out the line, take a practice swing and then execute the putt. It is less about how many putts you hit and much more about the effort you invest into planning and attempting to execute each putt. Your golfing skill is much more complex than just a putting stroke or golf swing.
How To Think
Keep in mind, your focus should not be on you golf putting mechanics, it should be on holing each putt right in the centre of the hole. If it doesn’t roll perfectly into the centre, then reflect and learn:
Did the ball start too far right or left?
Was this because of a poor stroke or your aim?
Did you pick an incorrect line or
Was the pace not ideal for the line you chose?
These are the questions you should ask yourself when you sink each putt, let alone when you miss one. It is this granular level of self-reflection that is so productive in learning. This is the learning that most golfers leave on the table during their practice sessions.
Developing you putting skill does not occur by accident. Your body makes specific adaptations when it is continually stressed in a particular way. As such, your golf practice must become incrementally more difficult as you progress. Otherwise, you will stop learning – this concept is simple to grasp and yet many golfers neglect this fundamental rule of learning.
Once you can complete 3ft of “round the clock” with no misses, move all your markers back one grip length. Then, when you can complete this, move them back another grip length. Professionals, who consistently play this game, can get back to 9 feet…..guess how good they are at holing out from inside 10 feet…
Other Ways To Progress
If you do these:
a) Play this putting skills game “round the clock”
b) Continually adjust the difficulty and
c) Self-reflect on your performance on every putt.
You will rapidly improve your putting skill level.
But what if you want more?
If you keep moving the ball markers back, you will find it more difficult, but this is just the start.
Many other adaptations can be made to develop your golfing skill based on your weaknesses. Another adaptation is to complete three rounds at each distance as follows:
1st ball – putt at your normal pace
2nd ball – putt firmer than your normal pace
3rd ball – putt softer than your normal pace
When you miss any putt, you start from the beginning…..be warned, this is tough.
Playing “round the clock” in this way really dials in your ability to understand the different pace and lines for holing putts. Studies suggest, this variation in practice will help your skill transfer to the course and thereby improve your performance under pressure.
There is also another great benefit to playing the game this way. You realise there is actually an infinite range of options for holing any putt, not just the one perfect line. There is no doubt that this mind-set is a powerful way to approach putting.
If this is your first time reading about improving you putting skill with practice, then I hope it has made you think about how you currently practice.
Golf technique is still important but, by playing these skills games, you actually make the micro, subconscious changes in your technique that take you from being a good putter to being a great putter. These skills games also make your technique more adaptable and help your transfer your practice performance to the golf course.
Once you’ve finished playing this golf putting skills game, your learning isn’t quite finished. To squeeze the last bit of progression out of your practice time, here is something else you can do.
Correcting Your Putting Chinks
Firstly, think about where you struggled with your putts, did you mainly miss left to right putts? Did you hit putts too soft so they broke off early? Take this data and feed it back into your technical practice so you can now look for technical improvements you can make to improve or remove those chinks in your putting performance.
Secondly, note this data down and feed it into your play. This should aid your decision making on the course. I know a guy who accumulated hundreds of hours of practice with this one putting game. While he never pushed his putts, about 1 in 20 were a very slight pull. So when he had a putt on the golf course from 8 feet that was dead straight, he would often aim an inch right of centre and, more often than not, those putts went in the hole just left of centre.
Again, great golf practice is about much more than perfecting your technique.
Each week invest time into technical practice, skills improvement games and playing golf. There should be a clear link between all these areas.
The putting grip is a matter of choice as you can hold your putter in a variety of ways.
In Short, when it comes to deciding on the best putting grip, you have many choices. You should be relaxed, hands should sit comfortably on the putter while still maintaining a square alignment of the putter head to the target at impact.
Remember – what happens at the bottom end of your putter is determined by what happens at the top end of your putter.
The Most Common Grip
The most common putting grip is the reverse-overlap. Unlike the grip for the full golf swing where you wrap the little finger of your right hand over your left index finger, you reverse the process.
Here you place your left index finger over the little finger of your right hand (or extend it over all the fingers of your right hand). Both your thumbs are positioned straight down the grip.
A variation entails placing the forefinger of the right hand down the shaft of the putter.
An important aspect of the grip is where the putter shaft rests in your hands.
The putter shaft should lie in the “lifelines” of your hands up against the fleshy pad and not in your fingers.
So, to repeat, my recommendation is to place your putter in the “lifelines” of your hands.
This position reduces any tendency for your wrists to hinge and unhinge during the putting stroke. It also helps to reduce the possibility of putter face rotation.
Some teachers still advocate holding the putter in the fingers of each hand in order to achieve a better feel. This technique tends to promote the use of the wrists in the putting stroke rather than a pendulum-like stroke produced by the shoulders.
You may be aware of the trade-off in where you hold the putter shaft – that is feel versus consistency. I don’t really agree with this view. While it’s important to have a putter that feels good in your grip, I believe that to putt well, you have to putt with consistent actions and techniques that have been honed through regular practice.
Placing the shaft in your palms is more likely to give you a consistent stroke as it reduces wrist hinging.
A number of professional golfers now use a cross-handed grip with the left hand lower on the shaft than the right. This putting grip is designed to increase left-hand control and prevent any hinging or cupping of the left wrist through the area of contact.
The claw (or saw) grip which sees the right hand holding the putter in a similar manner to the grip for the long putter is used for a different purpose.
In putting, a common fault is for the right hand to overpower the left hand in the forward stroke, resulting in the putt being pulled left of the target.
To reduce any tendency for the right hand to dominate, the right hand is rested gently on the shaft allowing the left hand to guide the putting stroke. The idea being, that it is easier to pull a shopping trolley in a straight line than to push it….
What about the Shoulders and Forearms
Another importance aspect of your putting grip is the effect it has on the alignment of your shoulders and your forearms.
In the traditional grip the right hand is positioned below the left. The effect is to push the right shoulder and forearm ahead of the left shoulder and forearm. So my recommendation is that you check the alignment of your shoulders.
In reality, this means that the shoulder and forearm flow lines, unless corrected, will be pointing more to the left rather than parallel to your aim line. As your putter path typically follows the line of your shoulders, your putts will be pulled to the left. With the left-hand low grip, the opposite will happen and putts will be pushed to the right.
One technique to prevent your right shoulder moving forward is to tuck your right elbow in towards your right hip. This prevents an over-the-top condition that occurs when your right forearm is further forward from your body than your left forearm.
If you can, try standing over a reflective surface and change your putting grip from right-hand low to left-hand low and, immediately, you will see how your shoulders move forward and backwards.
The only time that your shoulders will be in a neutral position is when your hands are placed alongside each other on the grip. This is sometimes referred to as the prayer grip.
Whatever your method of holding your putter, you should pay close attention to the correct alignment of your shoulders and forearms after you have placed your hands on your putter.
I hope you found this article helpful and that you improve your putting as a result.
One of the most important putting skills that you never practice enough.
Today I am going to share with you a simple to learn method for aiming your putter very accurately and consistently so you can hole more putts inside the range of 10 feet.
Professionals would claim that putting should be the easiest of all the skills to learn and master and that, if you wish to become a successful amateur or professional golfer, you must become an expert and be consistently accurate inside the 10 foot range.
Basically, there are two critical skills that you need to develop and master to improve your putting aim and thereby become more effective on the greens. These skills are not the ones normally taught and practiced but I can assure you they will help any golfer to become really effective on the greens.
These two skills will underpin continuous success on the putting green and I hope that, after reading this article, you will work on these skills to greatly improve your putting.
The Two Putting Skills
# 1. Point or aim your putter accurately
# 2. Start your ball where the putter is pointing
In today’s article I am going to focus on these two skills – aim your putter accurately, and hit your putts where you aim.
You will see that we won’t discuss things like green reading, putting speed or which stroke path you use or even whether you hit your putt at the bottom of your stroke or as its moving upwards. These are certainly very important aspects of putting but I believe that, without these two putting skills, none of these will help you to make continuous progress with your putting.
It’s interesting that many of the things that golfers work on can actually make the putting part of their game more challenging and one such example is thinking about whether your stroke is going back and through correctly whilst you complete a putt. Expert golfers don’t spend too much time thinking about how they are stroking their putt when they are putting, rather, they think specifically about how their ball will behave on its way to the hole.
Their focus is more on where rather than how.
Two Important Questions
Here are 2 important questions for you to consider and then answer to start things off.
1. Do you practice aiming your putter as often as you practice hitting putts? ….Yes or No
2. Do you believe that aiming your putter to where you want to putt is a skill? …Yes or No
These are good questions because they help you to understand what you value highest in putting.
If you hit lots of putts to holes, or you work on stroke mechanics a lot, how do you know whether you are aiming your putter where you think you are?
You might be surprised to learn that many amateurs and even professionals rarely if ever practice aiming their putter to a target as a skill.
Your can take a lesson to determine what type of putting stroke best suit you, but when you practice putting you need to become extremely good at aiming your putter and hitting your putts consistently where you aim.
Never assume that you aim accurately, you should practice it often!
Being able to master your aiming ability will greatly improve your confidence on the greens, but if you don’t practice it then it doesn’t matter how good your stroke is because the ball will not go into the hole as often as you want.
So how do you practice aiming accurately?
Practice Aiming Your Putter
You should spend a block of time every week practicing and enhancing your putteraiming skills and you should do it before you practice putting to holes.
We know that as a serious golfer you know and more than likely check your aim often on long shots, but for many golfers they never think about aiming their putter the same way. This doesn’t make a lot of sense because I’m sure you will agree that aiming your putter is equally as important as aiming your shoulders, hips and feet on long shots.
Aiming your putter is quite easy to do and practice – and the following simple aiming routine is the one I recommend. With this simple routine I guarantee that it will help you to improve your aiming skills so that you give yourself a much greater chance of making more putts inside 10 feet.
Aim Your Putter – Step 1.
Place a coin or ball marker on the ground which will be your target to aim at and position 5 balls around the marker from 5 feet to 10 feet on a relatively level part of the putting green.
Aim Your Putter – Step 2.
Go up to the first ball and perform your pre-shot putting routine and whilst in your set-up position and when you think the putter is pointing at the coin or ball marker move the ball out of the way and carefully place an alignment stick down from the centre of the putter face at right angles to the putter face.
Is the alignment stick pointing at the marker, or left or right of it?
Remember, as you perform this routine you are aiming to hit your putter as if there was no break. You are simply aiming from the ball to the hole with no consideration of slope.
A Simple to Make Practical Putter Aiming Device
I recommend a very simple home-made aiming device that is attached to an alignment stick that turns the alignment stick into a very helpful and powerful training aid.
So here we go, cut a piece of 1 inch by 1 inch square wooden dowel the length of a putter face and drill a hole into the centre of the wood – that hole being the diameter of an alignment stick and at right angles to the edge of the wood. Then insert the alignment stick into it as you can see in the image below.
When you aim your putter you place the alignment stick with the dowel attachment against the putter face so you can easily check the accuracy of your aiming ability. This simple device helps to amplify putter face misalignment better than most other training aids out there.
Test results for aiming accuracy have shown that, an elite golfer at 5 feet from the hole, can have between 3 and 6 inches of misalignment. Now you can imagine how much compensation that’s required to hole a putt of 5 feet when the putter is aimed this far away from the hole or target?
Aim Your Putter – Step 3.
If your alignment stick is not aimed straight at the marker/coin then repeat the procedure from the different distances until the alignment stick is pointing to the ball marker. This usually takes 3 to 5 attempts at each ball location.
Once you have achieved a straight alignment to the target consistently you will then need to calibrate your putting stroke to your new straight alignment.
The reason for this is that your misalignment has created an unconscious stroke compensation and now you will need to adjust your stroke to improve your ability to hit your putts where you aim.
Aim Your Putter – Step 4.
To calibrate your new aim with your putting stroke, you can use a simple pipe bracket or golf tees that are placed just a little wider than the width of your ball …this is to hit your putts through.
Your goal is to use your authentic putting stroke and this simple aid to make the finite adjustments required for you to hit your putts where you aim.
Initially you will find that if you aimed away from the ball marker/coin either to the right or left of the marker, that your stroke and face alignment will encourage a pull or push and your putts will hit the sides of the bracket or tees. This provides the instant feedback you need to improve your ability to hit your putts where you point the putter face.
Practice hitting sets of 10 putts through the tees (without a hole initially) until you can get all 10 putts through the middle without contacting the sides. This is not as easy as it sounds.
This putter aim and stroke adjustment routine is very effective at improving your precision with the aiming of your putter and hitting your putts where you aim.
Well, that’s it for today.
I hope you learned something from this article and that you will visit this website regularly for more great tips.
When you are aiming your putterat the desired target, it’s not unlike aiming and shooting a rifle while looking at the barrel from the side. It would be so much easier if we could putt like you would play croquet, lined up behind the golf ball and looking forward towards the target! Problem is, the rules of golf don’t allow that approach but there are some ways to align ourselves on the greens that do not break any golf rules. The following 7 tips to improve putting alignment will definitely help reduce the number of putts you make in any given round of golf and will be most beneficial to beginners and amateur golfers.
From my own experience over the years, I know just how difficult it is to align the putter and, you know what, it’s not just average golfers or beginners…..golfers at all levels have, at some stage, struggled to aim the putter exactly where they wanted.
So what chance does the average golfer have? Well, with the 7 tips to improve putting alignment I write about below, a much better chance than he or she does right now.
Touring professionals have spent years honing and ingraining repeatable strokes and it may not be best for them to change the way they are and have been putting. They’ve earned their stripes, so as long as they return the putter head to a position at impact that starts the ball on their intended line, where they initially aimed, anything else can be of little consequence as regards alignment.
On the other hand, amateurs and beginners should work hard to limit the amount of movement and manipulation in their putting strokes. This will give them the best possible chance to start the ball on their intended line.
So, let’s get started. Here are my 7 tips to improve putting alignment.
#1. Put A Line On Your Ball
This is an easy one to understand. Drawing a line on your ball and aiming it from behind, can help your putting alignment. As we mentioned before, it’s easier to aim from behind the rifle barrel than from beside it.
If, like me, you pay particular attention to putting when you watch golf on television, you’ll notice that a majority of top PGA Tour players use a line on their golf ball for this precise reason.
#2. Use A Putter With A Line
The more lines you have perpendicular to the bottom of the putter face, the easier it will be to line up the putter correctly. Some people have a preference for one line, while others prefer multiple lines.
Whatever you’re preference, there is absolutely no doubt that the majority of golfers will aim their putter better if it has a line on it.
#3. Use Other Clubs To Form Rail Tracks
Similar to practicing your long game, placing a few clubs on the ground will help you to
see what “square”, “open”, and “closed” looks like in relation to your alignment towards the desired target. Correct alignment is very important but perfect alignment is not mandatory.
Look at it this way, if you think you are lined up one way (say, opened), but you are actually lined up another way (say, closed), I can guarantee you are definitely heading for trouble.
#4. Examine Your Right-hand Grip
For whatever reason, I commonly see people’s right hand too much “on top” of the grip.
Remember, whenever your right hand is in opposition with your left hand, poor alignment will generally follow.
#5. Make Sure Your Shoulders Are Square
Use a club under your armpits, see picture in demonstration below, to see
where your shoulders are in relation to your feet and target line. Open or closed shoulders are issues
that are usually affected by your grip on the putter.
Be aware, that golfers with left-hand low grips tend to have closed shoulders while addressing a putt, while golfers who use the traditional, right-hand low putter grip, tend to have opened shoulders.
#6. Keep Checking Your Right Forearm
If your right forearm rides too high then you’ll have a problem of being too “open” to
your target during your setup. Make sure your right forearm is in line with the club shaft and your left forearm when setting up and addressing the ball. This will increase the odds of you aiming where you want to aim more consistently.
#7. Set Up While Looking At The Hole
When all else fails, just look at the hole, set your putter down, trust yourself and fire. You’ll be aligned better than you think…..
That’s it for now, keep checking in as this website is being updated regularly.
Some golfers think this is an easy exercise but there are a number of important steps that you must fully understand if you want to know how to find the right putter. The variables covered in these steps have a major impact on putter distance and control.
Putting is nothing more than consistent distance and directional control of the golf ball. This is easier to accomplish if you know the facts about proper putter fitting. I’m going to give you a method of explanation that makes this very easy to understand and then the next easy step is for you to go out and do something about it.
When discussing putter fitting it is best to break down each of the five putter fitting variables and discuss each regarding its effect on either distance control and/or directional control of the putt.
How To Find A Putter That Fits You
# 1. Length and Fit
Length equally affects both distance control and directional control of the putt and is very important regarding consistency in putting. The correct putter length depends on the type of putting stroke you use.
The most popular putting stroke today is when the golfer is slightly bent over at the waist and the knees slightly bent until the eyes are directly over the ball. The stance is square to the putt line and both arms are hanging down vertically and directly under the shoulders.
The ball is approximately positioned out from the left heel. The stroke is a pendulum motion using the shoulders as a pivot point and causing the putter head to go slightly inside on the back stroke to square at impact to slightly inside on the follow through. Putter length is measured and fitted with the golfer in this position.
Putters for men are mostly sold in 35” and 34” standard lengths (a few 33” exist). Womens’ putters are standard at 33”. Both men and women golfers will almost always fit into shorter lengths than those offered as standard. The average is about 33” for men….the average standard length putter used on the PGA tour is 33” to 33 ½” for men. Women will usually fit into 31” to 32 ½” lengths. When fitting putters, length should always be the first fitting variable determined.
About 80 percent of golf beginners play with ill-fitted putters. The vast majority use putters that are too long and force them to stand too tall at address or with their arms jammed up into their bodies. Either way, the end result is a bad putting stroke.
When you buy a putter make sure it fits you, so you don’t compromise your stroke.
Here’s how to make certain your putter fits.
Check Your Putter For Correct Fit
Stand with your weight balanced in the middle of your feet, and tilt forward so your arms hang straight down, palms facing, with a slight elbow flex. This is the ideal putting posture.
Recall this posture as you address a ball. Your eyes should be directly over the ball. Have someone measure a line from the top of your left wrist to the ball (w h e re your eyes hit the ground). That is your correct putter length.
Check the lie angle of your putter before you buy. The sole should be flush to the ground. If the toe of the putter is pointing up off the ground it isn’t a good fit.
The standard length of a men’s putter taken off the rack is 35 inches. That’s too long….on average, 331/2 inches is about right.
Your height is not the main determinant in putter fitting. Stuart Appleby (6’1”) and Justin Leonard (5’9”) both use 33-inch putters. It’s a combination of arm length, torso size and legs. Once you determine your ideal putter length, make sure you find a model that has markings and a design that help you with alignment. Try out several different styles to find the one you like best.
Don’t cut it short
If it’s occurred to you that your existing putter will fit better if you just snip a few inches off the top of the shaft, don’t do it. If you do; you’ll alter the club’s swing weight and that changes the feel and performance of the putter head. Bottom line: It’s not a good idea.
# 2. Loft Angle
Loft has greater effect on distance control than directional control but does affect both. A putter needs loft in order to putt with any consistency. The amount of loft at impact should be between 3º and 4 ½º.
Here’s why: on a green, when the ball comes to rest it settles down slightly into the grass. When you putt you do not want to drive the ball through the grass to get it up on top but rather you want to lift it out of its depression and place it up on top of the grass. This eliminates the possibility of the ball bouncing which is bad because it makes distance control more difficult.
Next, a putt has initial skid and then it eventually goes into pure roll. We want this skid and roll percentage to be as consistent as possible through all lengths of putts. Research shows that 3º to 4 1/2º loft on a flat face will be the best way to accomplish this.
If the loft is reduced to say 1º, it is not enough to get the ball out of its depression and it will bounce. If the loft is say 6º, the ball will be lofted too high which will also cause it to bounce. In either case distance control is less consistent because we need the ball skidding and rolling with minimum bouncing.
#3. Lie Angle
Lie is almost all about directional control in putting and very little about distance control. Because a putter has loft, anytime the lie angle is not properly fitted to the individual golfer the ball will not go in the direction your putter head is pointing. Basically when the loft angle is tilted (lie angle not correct) and not parallel to the ground, another angle is formed which we will call the misdirection control angle.
A good example to explain this would be a golfer putting with the toe sticking up in the air at address. This would mean that the golfer is holding the putter too flat for the putters built in lie angle. Another way to say this is that the putters lie angle is too upright for the golfer and must be adjusted to a flatter lie angle to fit that particular golfer.
Assume the putter in question has 4º loft and is held 3º too upright (toe up). Because the 4º loft angle is tilted it creates a small misdirection control angle which points to the left. If we hit a 28 foot putt the ball would be pulled 1 5/8” left of our intended line and would lip out and miss. If all putters had 0º loft this misdirection control angle would not even exist. However, we would now have more difficulty in achieving good distance control. Fitting the proper lie angle on a putter is very important and should not be overlooked.
#4. Swing weight
Swing weight is used as a means to ensure the putter head and the putters’ length have the proper weight relationship between them. This characteristic is a major factor in distance control of the putt. It also is a significant factor in directional control.
The golfer needs to have enough weight in the head to achieve proper feel and balance of the putter. Too light and it is difficult to obtain a smooth backstroke, follow through and distance control. Too heavy and it is very difficult to get any kind of distance control, especially on longer putts. Heavy putters are, however, very accurate on shorter length putts.
The best swing weight range is between C-8 and D-6. The problem with a number of putters currently in play is that they were built with the old lighter head weights and many fall into the A-1 to C-0 range. This is definitely a problem that most golfers do not need, so if you fall into this category check the swing weight on your putter. If necessary, simply put lead tape on the sole of the putter making sure to evenly cover the entire sole in layers until the correct weight is achieved.
If you are following the current trend of “counterbalanced” putters, make sure you have enough head weight to have the head feel you need to execute a smooth stroke. Most designed counterbalanced putters start with heavier head weights, usually from 370 grams to over 400 grams. For most players, these heavier head weights require some level of counterbalancing to give them the proper head feel.
If you have a standard head weight putter, say 350 grams or less and you add a counterbalance weight, you may find that all head feel goes away, making it very difficult to execute a proper, smooth stroke. You may need to experiment to find the right balance for you, but research indicates that the ability to repeatedly execute a smooth controlled stroke can be improved with heavier head weights and some level of counterbalancing.
#5. Proper Putter Head Design
Much of this is personal choice regarding looks, feel and above all feeling comfortable with your choice. An important performance variable to consider when buying a putter is whether or not you want the easier playability of a high MOI putter head design. High MOI putters are far more forgiving on off-centre impacts. In addition, a smooth flat faced putter head is highly recommended.
That being said, most putter designs today have some form of milling, or inserts, or grooves in the face claiming that these types of surfaces will reduce backspin and skid on putts. Research has indicated that this does not occur to any significant degree. Milled faces do ensure the face is flat, so there is a positive to milled faces.
My advice is take the claims of improved roll from grooves or inserts with a grain of salt, and concentrate on getting a design that suits your eye and has the highest MOI possible.
How To Set Your Target Number Of Putts
Now that you have a suitable putter for your personal needs, how many putts should you be targeting in a round of golf? Regardless of your handicap, you can definitely shoot par on the greens.
If you don’t already do so, start tracking your total putts per round. Then look at the chart below for your personal putting par, based on your handicap. Make it your goal to match this target number and you’ll see lower numbers on your card.
Personal Handicap Putting Par
30 and over = 36 putts per round
2 0 – 2 9 = 34 per round
10 – 19 = 32 per round
I hope you liked this article and that it helps you to improve your putting performance.
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