How Do I Become a Better Putter?

By Robert Preston
There is never a substitute for experience which translates to practice, practice, practice.
There is never a substitute for experience which translates to practice, practice, practice.

The putting game is often neglected by some beginning golfers, who prefer to spend their time on the range with the more eye-pleasing elements of the game, such as the driver. No club in the bag is used on more strokes than the putter, however, and working on your putting form until you are comfortable with the club from all distances can prove vital on the course. The key to mastering the putter is practicing proper form on the putting green, until your stroke is second nature.

Grip the putter lightly with your standard hand positioning. You do not need as tight of a grip as with other shots, as the stroke will be much shorter and the more relaxed you are the less likely you are to twitch and strike the ball off line.

Stand so that the ball is centered between your shoulders, with your rear foot slightly farther back than your lead foot is forward, placing the ball just forward of center between your feet.

Stand a distance from the ball so that, with the club hanging with a comfortable arm position, the sweet spot of the putter is located behind the center of the ball. Most modern putters mark the speed spot on the top of the putter for easy alignment.

Swing the putter back then forward through the ball by moving your arms and turning your shoulders slightly. Unlike with other clubs, where the entire trunk and hips are turned as well, only the upper triangle of your arms and shoulders is needed to propel the ball.

Keep a consistent tempo for all putts. To putt the ball farther or shorter, the stroke is lengthened or shortened respectively, causing the putter to cover more or less distance in the same time, and allowing you to control the pace of the putter when it hits the ball.

Practice your distance control on a putting green by attempting to putt the ball various distances while not aiming at a hole, instead simply aiming to putt along a line a set distance away. Proper distance control ensures that with a proper read, you will make the putt, and with an improper read, you will keep the ball close for your second putt.

Practice making short putts, from 3 feet and closer, by arranging a set of three to five balls around the hole on all sides, then putting each ball, with the goal being to not miss any of the putts. Many players over think short putts, and struggle on the course, however a player who has worked on distance control must practice the "gimme" putts, to ensure he saves a two putt when the distance control put him in position to do so.

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