What Is Putting in Golf?

By Sharon Penn
Learning how to correctly read greens is just one key element in becoming a low handicap golfer.
Learning how to correctly read greens is just one key element in becoming a low handicap golfer.

Golfers can practice putting on a putting green that simulates the green you will find on the golf course. Most golf courses have putting greens, and players are advised to practice before a round of golf to get a feel for the greens. The ball will roll faster or slower depending on conditions, such as wind and how wet the green is on any given day.

Using the Putter

Putting is a golf stroke used with a club called a putter when you are on or just off the green. Golfers may use clubs such as the driver, fairway woods, hybrids and irons to get to the green. A wedge such as the pitching wedge is used to hit the ball on the green in a favorable position to get the ball into the hole in one or two strokes with the putter.

Putting Grip

The grip used for putting is different from the grip used for other clubs. Many golfers use the “reverse overlap” grip because it prevents the wrists from breaking during the putt. To use this grip, place your bottom hand on the club and position your hand with the thumb pointing down. Place your top hand on the grip, and slide your hands together. Put your index finger over the fingers of the bottom hand.

Reading the Green

Golfers “read the green” when they examine the grass between the ball and the hole. If the grass appears shiny, the grain is with the putt and the ball will go faster. A downhill slope and a dry green will also make the ball go faster. Putters notice contours in the green, to see if the ball will break to the right or to the left when it is hit.

Lining up Putt

Good putters often line up the logo or name on the ball with the target line to the hole. Sometimes they even draw a line on the ball to help with alignment. The head of the putter is then aligned with the target line to the hole. Before hitting a putt, golfers check their stance and posture, and take a practice shot for feel and distance. Selecting an intermediary target between the ball and the hole helps to keep the putt on line.

Putting Stroke

Before hitting the ball, golfers try to visualize the putt by “seeing” an imaginary line to the hole. The clubhead of the putter stays low to the ground, and the wrists remain firm as they hit through the ball with a pendulum motion. The lower body remains still, and the shoulders move the arms to accelerate through the ball. How far back the club goes in the backswing determines how far the ball will roll.

About the Author

Sharon Penn is a writer based in South Florida. A professional writer since 1981, she has created numerous materials for a Princeton advertising agency. Her articles have appeared in "Golf Journal" and on industry blogs. Penn has traveled extensively, is an avid golfer and is eager to share her interests with her readers. She holds a Master of Science in Education.

Photo Credits

  • Victor Fraile/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
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