Did you know that you spend about 33% of your entire life asleep? While this number can vary from person to person, the point of this statement was to illustrate just how important something that isn't thought about much, really is.
The same can be said of putting. It is estimated that players spend 70% of their time on the course playing their short game, which is usually less than 100 yards out.
If you aren't good with putting, it's gonna be a long day. Not to mention that if you feel stagnant in where your handicap lies, this could be just the thing that you need to work on to really break out of that rut.
If you feel like you're just beating that poor golf ball with a stick, instead of playing quality putting shots, then that's about to change.
Let's explore some tested and proven tips to better your putting skills.
Take Your Wrist Out Of The Shot
This should be common knowledge, but surprisingly it is not. When putting, the worst thing you can do is to make it too handsy; or flicking the wrist. Rather, putting should be regarded as mimicking the motion of a pendulum, using your shoulders as movers.
This means just letting your hands and wrists go with the flow; your shoulders, and secondarily, your arms, are the primary motion generators.
Some golfers worry that this affects accuracy, but in reality, this is the most consistent way of making a putt that is replicable.
Practice Putting Drills
Since putting by itself will easily amount to around 50% of your shots, doesn't it make sense to dedicate at least half of your practice time to this integral part of the game?
There are many different drills that you can do to better your putting, but one of the most effective is the 3-6-9 drill.
To do this simply set up three balls in a line perpendicular to your intended target line. The first ball should be about 3 feet away, the second 6 feet, and the last 9 feet.
Start with the first ball and make 10 putts. Once you have done that, move on to the next ball and so forth.
The point of this is to get a feel for different distances and understand how hard you need to hit the ball to make it in.
Keep The Putter Face Square
This is another tip that sounds pretty self-explanatory, but you'd be shocked at how many golfers think they are doing it when they really aren't.
The face of your putter should be square to your intended target line for the entire duration of the stroke.
A great way to check and ensure that you are doing this is by using an alignment rod or a putter with an alignment aid built in.
Improve Your Posture
This may sound like your mom scolding you for not sitting up straight at the dinner table, but your posture has a significant impact on how good of a putter you are as well.
When you are set up to the ball, your eyes should be directly over it, with your shoulders and hips square to the target line.
From here, take a half step back with your leading foot and align it with your trailing foot. Golfers who suffer from back pain will be happy to know that this also takes stress off of the lower back.
You'll notice plenty of corrective tutorials on YouTube that emphasize taking the low back out of the stroke, but that's not what we're saying here.
What we are saying is to make a conscious effort to have good posture and be aware of your spine angle; this will undoubtedly lead to better putting.
You Must Read The Green
Reading the green is as essential as studying for your exams before you have them. Can you pass with sheer luck? Yes. Is it likely? No. In fact, it is much more likely that you will fail miserably.
See, the thing is, a successful putt is much more than just trying to hit in a straight line. Anyone can do that.
Putting is a science. Reading the green can be considered a technical analysis of the factors that can determine the trajectory and roll of the ball.
Contour, speed, and grain are all important factors to consider when trying to make a putt. The better you get at reading greens, the more often you will make those long putts that others swear by pure luck.
The break is the most important thing to consider when reading the green. The break is the direction that the ball will travel after it hits the ground—so if there's a slope, for example, the ball will roll in that direction. To read the break, stand at your ball and look at where you want it to end up (the hole). Then, pick a spot between your ball and the hole and see which way it slopes. That's the break!
Use A Putter That Suits Your Style
There are tons of putters on the market, just like how there are so many choices in other clubs as well. There is a lot that actually goes into choosing the right putter- aesthetics aside.
One of the first things you need to consider when choosing a putter is the length. The length of the putter should be based on your height. If you are between 4'10" and 5'4", you should use a 34-inch putter. If you are between 5'5" and 5'11", you should use a 35-inch putter. And if you are 6 feet or taller, you should use a 36-inch putter. You can find putters of different lengths at most golf stores or online retailers.
Another thing to consider when choosing a putter is the lie angle. The lie angle is the angle between the shaft and the ground when the club head is resting on the ground. The lie angle affects how much of an upward or downward stroke you need to make in order to get good contact with the ball. If your stroke is too upright, you will tend to hit thin shots; if your stroke is too downward, you will tend to hit fat shots. Most golfers need a lie angle that falls somewhere in between these two extremes. You can have a professional fitting done at a golf store in order to find out what lie angle works best for you.
Lastly, you need to consider head weight when choosing a putter. Head weight refers to how much the head of the putter weighs relative to the rest of the club. Putters with heavy heads tend to be more forgiving, meaning they are less likely to twist on off-center hits, which can lead to more accurate puts. Putters with lighter heads tend to be more maneuverable, making them easier to control on delicate touch shots around the green.
We could go on and on about this, but that should be enough to ensure you get one that works for you.
Make Sure Your Grip is Good
Gripping the putter correctly is one of the simplest and most effective ways to improve your putting. And yet, it's often overlooked by golfers of all skill levels. The reason for this is that there's no one perfect way to grip a putter. Instead, what works best will vary from person to person depending on their individual physiology and swing mechanics.
That being said, there are some general tips that can help you find a grip that works for you. First, make sure that you're holding the putter lightly in your hands. A death grip will only serve to tense up your muscles and make it harder to keep the putter on-line. Second, experiment with different grips until you find one that feels comfortable and gives you the results you're looking for. Some common grips include the overlapping grip, the interlocking grip, and the claw grip.
A good, comfortable grip helps you get more balls in the holes and can reduce the incidence of dreaded yips.
Follow through with your shot.
So many golfers think that they need to hit the ball hard in order to sink it, but that's not always true—especially on shorter putts. Instead of trying to muscle it into the hole, focus on making a smooth stroke and following through with your shot. This will help you control your speed better and ultimately make more putts overall.
Not only that but in addition to increasing your clubhead speed, following through also gives you more control over direction. When you stop your swing short, the clubhead has a tendency to wander off-course, leading to errant shots and wild hooks or slices. But when you complete your swing and follow through properly, you keep the clubface square to the ball longer which leads to straighter shots overall.
Use Visual Aids To Establish Your Line
Sometimes, establishing your line without a visual aid might seem challenging. That's why we advocate for using an aide if needed. This could be a tee, or even a coin, placed behind your ball.
If you're having trouble picking out a target line, having something to focus on will help immensely.
Keep Your Eyes Down Throughout The Putt
You need to ensure that you maintain focus on the ball, and not let your eyes wander off to the hole or anything else for that matter. If you take your eyes off of the ball, even for a second, you're likely to lose your aim, costing you precious strokes.
Not only that but keeping your eyes down also allows you to better control your speed. When you take a peek at the hole, it's natural to want to hit the ball harder in order to make it in. But as we've already established, that's not always the best approach. By keeping your eyes on the ball, you can better gauge the speed at which you need to hit it in order to make your putt.
Get A Coach
Many people are resistant to the idea of hiring a coach, but quite often, this is the single best investment you can make as a golfer. A good coach can help you identify and correct the flaws in your swing, which will lead to better results on the course. They can also provide useful feedback after each round, helping you fine-tune your game and make the necessary adjustments to lower your scores.
What's more, a coach can help you develop a practice routine that's tailored to your individual goals and needs. Having a structured practice regimen is one of the keys to success in any sport, and yet so many golfers either don't practice at all or just go to the driving range and hit balls aimlessly. A coach can help you make the most of your practice time so that you see real results on the course- even if this means inches at a time since the putting green is what matters at the end of it all!
Bonus Tip: Don't Go Hungry
Hunger is bound to derail the best of players. And random food won't do. Imagine a sugar crash causing you to struggle to keep your eyes open at 2 in the afternoon!
This is why we recommend Whole In One Bars, made of real, whole foods to nourish your performance.
Putting is often consigned to the back burner when it comes to training to become a better golfer, but this approach is archaic and downright counterproductive. The fact is, if you can't putt, you're not going to lower your scores and improve your game.
Fortunately, with a bit of practice and the right mindset, anyone can become a great putter. By following the tips laid out in this article, you'll be well on your way to becoming a putting master in no time!