The Correct Putting Posture
As the professionals say "drive for pleasure, putt for profit." Over and over again you see golf matches won or lost by the quality and consistency of the putting. This applies to your local round of 4 as much as to the big national and international championships. One of the biggest mistakes amateurs make is not focusing on achieving the correct posture for putting.
They are either hunched over the ball or they stand very tall with their eyes nowhere near the line of the ball. If you want to improve your putting, start with having some flex in the knees and a tilt from your hips so that your eyes are then over the ball.
By taking up this stance you are now in the correct position to make a pendulum stroke. Work on this on the putting green until you find yourself in a comfortable position.
Keeping a stable head position is a key feature of a reliable putting stroke. Keep your head perfectly still throughout the entire putting stroke. You will improve your putting enormously if you can keep your head still from the moment you line up the putt right up until you finish the follow-through and the ball is on its way to the hole.
If you keep your head still, it becomes easier and more natural to swing your putter freely back and through and so complete a proper pendulum stroke.. It will also be easier to make better contact with the ball on the center of the putter face. The temptation to look up early is always there, but you need to teach yourself to focus on the stroke.
Anticipate and listen for the ball hitting the bottom of the cup to improve your putting.
Use the Pendulum Stroke to Improve Your Putting
While there are many factors that contribute to poor putting performance, making the switch to a pendulum stroke could be the start of finding the answer that you've been looking for.
There are many individual golf swings, dependent on the golfer's build and other things. But most good players approach putting in more or less the same way.
The main component is to remove as many moving parts from your technique as possible. The shoulders rock back and through to move the putter, while the hands and wrists just go along for the ride. This style of putting provides consistent distance control, the ability to hit your putts on line and stability under pressure.The movement imitates a grandfather clock pendulum.
To use the pendulum stroke correctly, there are a number of things you need to practice.
The whole idea of a pendulum stroke is for your shoulders to rock the club back and through with no involvement of your hands. Unfortunately, many players let their right hand take control over the putter. When this happens, the pendulum effect is completely overridden and a bad putt is the result. The opportunity to improve your putting is lost.
Light pressure while gripping the putter is important to make a successful stroke. Gripping the putter too tightly makes it difficult to let the stroke flow freely. You want to have a very light grip pressure at address, with the club hanging from your hands with no tension in your fingers. The putting stroke is not an aggressive action so you don’t have to worry about losing control of the putter during the shot. Commit yourself to starting each stroke with a light grip and maintain that feel all the way through to the finish.
The thing that is going to help keep your stroke consistent is tempo. When you have a consistent, reliable tempo it will become much easier to roll the ball. Working on keeping the hands less active will also help with creating a good tempo. You can use a fast tempo, a slow tempo or anything in between as long as it is consistent and it feels natural to you.
Like anything else, results come from practice and more practice. Spend as much time as you can on the practice putting green and you'll reap the results to your game. And on the scorecard!
How to Grip Your Putter
There are many different ways of gripping the putter to counteract the problem of right hand dominance. Originally, The Reverse Overlap and The Cross-Handed Putting Grip dominated but since the early 2000s, The Claw Grip has become the most favored among professionals. Other popular grips are the Arm Lock and the Prayer Grip. Undoubtedly many other grips will be developed. They all have the same aim of keeping the hands quiet.
It seems like a small detail, but the way you grip the putter influences your ability to control the motion of your putts. Correcting your grip is one of the simplest and quickest ways to start playing better on the green.
Here is the prayer grip in detail. Experiment with different grips to find the one that works b est for you.
For a proper prayer grip, start by holding your putter out in front of you, perpendicular to your body. This helps you ensure that the putter shaft is in line with your forearm as you set your grip. That line is an important aspect of putter setup and you’ll see it come into play later.
Now, you want to hold the putter grip in your palm rather than in your fingers. Position the handle so it travels through the lifeline of your trailing hand and wrap your fingers around it.
Then, the middle and index fingers of your lead hand rest over the fingers of your trailing hand, but they do so pointing straight down the putter shaft. Tuck your ring and little fingers back around the handle. A simple phrase for remembering this position is, “two fingers down, two fingers around.”
Finally, rest both thumbs on top of the putter handle and slide your hands together so your thumbs are more or less side-by-side. Your hands should be in a prayer-like position.
If you’ve followed each of these steps carefully, you should find that the putter is still in your palms and the shaft is in line with your forearms. You will learn how to improve your putting more quickly once you have mastered the grip that suits you best.
The Correct Putting Setup
Putter Shaft in Line with Forearms
This is where all that grip work you just did immediately pays off. For a steady, controlled putt, the putter shaft should be like an extension of your forearms. Check yourself at setup. Is there any hinge in your wrists causing an angle in the line between your elbow and the putter head? If so, readjust to make sure your putter shaft and forearms are in line.
Hands Below Shoulders
When you’re preparing to putt, your hands should be positioned just below your shoulders. You can even keep them slightly outside (away from your body) if you find that works better for you. You just don’t want them inside your shoulders.
When you putt, you want your stroke to follow a smooth pendulum motion. This means same distance back, same distance through. It also means creating a symmetrical arc that maintains the exact same shape on both sides of the stroke. In order to accomplish this, your putting motion needs to rotate on something level. In this case, that level thing would be your shoulders.
Some golfers are in the habit of letting their trailing shoulder sink lower than their lead shoulder. This creates an uneven arc in their stroke. Check your shoulders at setup to make sure everything is level. Check it every time you make a putt until you don't have to think about it any more.
Position the Golf Ball Below Your Leading Eye
You know how to position your hands and body. You know how to position the putter shaft. The last ingredient is ball position.
You want the golf ball to be just below your leading eye at setup. At first, the correct position can be difficult to eyeball (so to speak). A great way to test your judgment is to take your setup, hold a second ball directly in front of your lead eye, and then let it drop. If you’re positioned correctly, the dropped ball will collide with the golf ball on the ground.
Putter Shaft in a Neutral Position
This is the most overlooked component of putting setup, but it is important. In fact, this detail probably has the biggest impact on the way your ball rolls.
Like the rest of your clubs, your putter is built with loft. The loft is minimal (around 2 to 4 degrees) but it’s there and it's there for a reason. Make sure you hold the putter shaft in a neutral, straight-up-and-down position at setup so it will return to that neutral position for impact. That way, you get the benefit of the loft. If you lean the shaft forward, you risk losing the benefit of the loft from the putter face. If you lean it back, you add more loft than you want.
How to Read the Putting Green
The green is the last part of a hole and can help you stay under par if you can putt consistently and successfully.You can make or break your golf game by your ability to read the lie of the putting green. Golfers should learn how to successfully examine the putting green by understanding the terrain and its surroundings. Your most valuable tool for reading the green is your eyesight.
To see the most detail, golfers should use a quality pair of sunglasses. They'll improve your ability to read the putting green by providing maximum clarity and reducing glare off the grass.
While the putting green may seem like a simple piece of grass, there are a lot of complexities golfers need to look out for.
Here are a few simple tips to reading the green and making every putt successful.
Pay attention to the surrounding terrain
One of the biggest mistakes a golfer can make is assume that the putting green is flat. In reality, the green is often sloped and appears flat due to the position of the golfer. Before you even approach the green, you should examine the surrounding terrain. In most cases, the green follows the slope of the fairway.
Observe the green as you approach it to see how its contours follow those of its surroundings and in particular the fairway as it abuts onto the green. You'll find you start to see putting greens in an entirely new light!
By examining the curves and lines of the terrain, you can better plan for your putting before you even reach the green.
Examine the high and low points
By crouching down behind the ball, you'll be able to better examine the curves of the green. By staying in line with the ball and the hole, you can see how the slopes will affect your putt. You should look for the highest and lowest point of the putting green to read its slope.
From there, you can determine how steep or shallow a slope is and make decisions on your putting method accordingly.
Use your feet
In addition to using your eyes to see the slope, you can use your feet to physically feel the slope. By simply walking around the putting green, you can determine the manner in which it dips and rises.
You can even walk alongside the line between your ball and the hole to feel the differences in elevation your ball will experience during the putt.
Look at the putt from the side
To get even more information about the putting green, you can examine the line of your put from the side. You should go to the centre of your putting line between the ball and hole and stand back a few metres.
By squatting low, you'll be able to get a better representation of the slope of the green and determine if the terrain slopes up, down, dips, rises, or stays consistently flat.
Examine the grass
This method of reading the green, while overlooked, is actually very important and useful in making a successful putt. You should examine the condition of the grass and the way that it grows. Depending on the climate you are golfing in, the grass may grow towards water or the direction in which the sun sets. Ultimately, the direction in which the grass grows can affect how the ball rolls on the green.
If the putting line goes in the same direction as the grass grows, the ball will move faster.
Alternatively, a ball rolling against the direction of the grass will move slower.
To determine which direction the grass is growing, you can examine the grass itself or take a look at the hole.
Usually, the direction in which the grass grows has a ragged edge on the hole.
Therefore, the grass grows towards the opposite side of the ragged side of the hole.
Look at the grass color
To determine the growth pattern of the grass by just looking at it, you should also pay attention to its color based on your position and the putting line. If the grass appears to be shiny, you will be putting with the grain. This means that you are putting in the same direction in which the grass grows.
If the grass appears to be darker, you are putting against the grain.
With putting, the direction of the grass will have a huge effect on the speed in which your ball rolls with the slope, so you should adjust the power of your putt accordingly.
Examine how other players putt on the green
One of the easiest ways to know how to read putting greens is simply by watching other players. You can gather a lot of information by watching how the slopes affect their putting. Even if they are not on the same putting line as you, their putting attempts will give you a better idea of how to approach your own putts.
Putting all of these factors together is difficult. Until it's not any more. It just comes with practice. The more you hit the practice green, the quicker you will learn how to improve your putting.