How Do I Golf Putt?

By Patrick Cameron
Spending more time on the practice putting surface is one of the best ways of lowering your scores.
Spending more time on the practice putting surface is one of the best ways of lowering your scores.

Although it's the long drives and difficult shots that make the highlight reel, good golfers know it's the short game where you make up your strokes. Because, while you can cover 400 yards in just a couple of strokes, it's the other 30 to 50 yards where you can take three, four or even five strokes to get the ball in the hole. Having the ability to make 10-foot putts and get the ball close enough on lag putts to the hole from 40 or 50 feet away to two putt is the key to scoring well. The best thing about it, is with some basic instruction, making putts can become a strong point of your game.

Establish your grip. When you putt, just like when you hit other shots, you want to make sure that you have a comfortable grip and one that works for you. You don't need to change your grip from driver to putter. It all depends on what works and what feels best for you.

Line up on the target. This is perhaps the biggest obstacle to becoming a good putter. To check your target line, run a club off your ball pointed toward the hole. Set another club in front of your toes. The clubs should run parallel. If they don't run parallel, your alignment is off and you need to reset your feet.

Adjust your shoulder angle. This is as important as feet position. You'll want to make sure that your shoulders are lined up on an angle from the non-lead shoulder (the one farthest from the cup) to the lead shoulder, so that they also run parallel to your target line.

Check your putt from behind. Go back far enough so you can see the layout of the green between your ball and the hole. You might want to get down on your haunches. You need to look at the landscape of the green to see how it slopes, if there are any undulations between your ball and the hole and which direction the the grain of the grass runs.

Take a couple practice strokes from right behind the ball. You'll want to pull back and accelerate through the ball, looking at the distance to the cup with each stroke. Your swing should resemble a pendulum, with no movement in the hands, wrists or arms. Basically, you putt with shoulder rotation.

Set up so that the putter face is 1/4 inch behind the ball and then look at the hole again. This is key for maintaining the distance judgment you have made as a result of the previous two steps.

Putt the ball toward the hole and follow through, keeping the head of the putter square toward your target.

About the Author

Patrick Cameron is a freelance writer with 10 years of diverse experience in consumer goods branding, promotions and retail communications. He works out of his home in Denver, Colo. He received his Bachelor of Arts in mass communication from the University of Minnesota.

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