When it comes to strokes, you want to keep them as low as possible to get your score under par. Par-golf typically provides for two putts per hole. Many amateur golfers are usually frustrated when they can only get the ball into the hole with three-putts or more. So, how you can cut those putting strokes to achieve a lower score? Rather than quick fixes that may not solve the problem, this article will cover tips and drills to help any golfer develop good putting skills over time. By focusing on impact, clubface angle, distance, and roll, you can quickly improve your putting ability and reduce your putting strokes.
The aim is to get the ball from one point to the hole. If for any reason, the ball does not get to the hole, it is best if it stops as close to the hole as possible. If you want to achieve this, your putting technique should adhere to the following:
- The ball should start as close as possible to the intended line of target.
- The velocity of the ball leaving the putter face should be controlled and adapted.
- Launch the ball upwards off the putter face between 1-4 degrees.
- Work on adapting to high-pressure situations.
When making any decision on improving your putting shots, the above should be the primary principles you follow. Whether you intend to try a new putter, switch up your technique, or purchase some golf putting aids, you need to identify which of the above tips you are aiming for.
Keeping a steady, consistent putting line is key to consistent shot-making. One of the best tools for practicing a smooth, balanced stroke is the EyeLine Golf Putting Alignment Mirror.
The start direction is five times more dependent on the putter face at impact than on the player’s swing path. Aim to build a putting stroke that will start the ball within half of a degree from the intended target line. The first step to achieve this is to work on getting an excellent putting grip.
If your ball starts as little as 1 degree off the target line, by the time your ball rolls 10 feet, it will be 2.06 inches wide of its target, which will send it to either the left or right lip of the hole. 2 degrees off and your ball will be a good four inches wide of the hole.
If your ball is within 10 feet of the hole, as little as 1 degree off the target lone may mean an additional strike. Ensure that you practice your putting aiming for the highest possible accuracy. You can also practice with an alignment stick or club on the green to make things easier.
It is, however, important to note that some elite golfers do not aim at their target. They may aim slightly left or right. While this is done subconsciously, it has been done with so much consistency that it has been perfected. The off-center aim may be a way to correct for a clubface that is always returned a little closed or open. As a result, the ball still starts on the intended target line with little margin of error.
For beginners and amateurs aiming to improve their putting mechanics, the aim is a great place to start. A simple, yet effective tool to help practice alignment to ensure an accurate putting line is the Golf Ball Line Marking Tool. Simply insert your ball into the device and use a marker to draw straight lines in the pre-cut holes. See the difference:
Once alignment is in order, you can focus on other factors affecting clubface at impact, the biggest of which is the grip. A great grip on the putter returns the clubface squarely without any need for additional control. Many golfers make the mistake of slightly tweaking their long game grip even when they want to putt.
You can follow the exercise below to test the efficiency of your current putting grip with squarely returning your clubface:
- Begin with your normal setup, then remove your trail hand.
- Your lead hand should still be placed on the putter, flex, and extend your wrist.
- Check your clubface rotation with this movement.
- Repeat the process with your trail hand.
If your grip is poor, your clubface will swing open and close rather viciously with very little wrist movements. With a great putting grip, wrist movement has very little effect.
Want to practice indoors without the having to setup a ball retriever device or putting green? Check out these cool Air Vent Putting Cups.
The ability to start your ball on your intended line will put your putting game ahead of most golfers in your league. In order to control how far your ball will go, you need to control the ball’s launch velocity and launch angle. This is where a little bit of loft comes in handy.
First, you must ensure that your ball impacts the center of a squarely aligned clubface. You can use the exercise below to check the lie of your putter.
Take your normal setup, and ask a friend to slide a piece of card under both ends of your putter head. The gap under the heel and the toe of your putter head should be even. If not, the piece of card on one side will slide in further than the other.
If your clubface is not squarely aligned, you, may need to alter elements in your set up such as your spine flexion, knee/hip flex, arm placement, and grip. You can examine these points in a mirror and attempt to change them to correct your putter lie angle. However, if all else fails, you need to seek lessons from a pro.
Check out our article on golf alignment sticks to see how these simple, inexpensive tools can be used to improve your putting alignment for better accuracy.
You can also get your putter correctly fitted for you. This option is only ideal if you are perfectly happy with your existing mechanics and have no intention of changing them. You can also by a new putter, better suited to you.
Practicing distance control can be one of the most challenging aspects of putting. One of our favorite training aids for practicing aim and distance is the PuttOut Pressure Putt Trainer. Its parabolic curved design takes the home putting aid to a new level by keeping the perfect putts and providing immediate distance feedback on the misses. The ball return makes this a perfect tool to practice on the putting green, at home or the office.
If your putting shots are launched slightly upwards (0.5-4 degrees), your shots should make the ball roll pretty well.
Your launch angle is affected by the loft of your putter, and your putter’s upward or downwards movement through impact.
You will find that most putters carry 3-4 degrees of loft by design. However, most pro golfers use putters with 1-2 degrees of loft. This allows the ball to roll as quickly as possible. A combination of such little loft and a slightly upward strike on the ball launches the ball with minimal backspin. As a result, the ball rolls much more efficiently. To achieve a slightly upward strike, ensure that the ball is forward of your stance and be consistent with your release.
The Putt-A-Bout Putting Green provides one of the most realistic putting simulators available and features an inclined putting surface. It is perfect for practice at home or the office.