How to Master Your Golf Putting Skills

By Sharon Penn
Use trial and error to determine where to place the ball in your stance and how far away to stand.
Use trial and error to determine where to place the ball in your stance and how far away to stand.

A typical player will use his putter more than any other club during 18 holes of golf. Many golfers have a few putters they rotate in and out of their bags, which is relatively easy to do because putters generally are less expensive than other clubs. Try different putters to find one that works for you, and when you do, get to work on your putting skills.

Read the green by noticing its contours as you approach, and then look at the putt from a couple of angles, like from behind the hole and behind the ball.

Using whatever grip is most comfortable, address the ball by standing relatively upright with your forearms and the putter forming a straight line. As you look down, your eyes should be directly over the ball.

Use trial and error to determine how far to stand from the ball. Many pros stand 2.5 putter-head lengths from their toes to the ball. If you are hitting outside the ball, you are too close. If you are hitting inside, you are standing too far.

Find out whether to place the ball center, forward or back in your stance. Ask a fellow golfer or pro to watch as you putt to make sure your putter is square to the ball. If it is aimed left, the ball is too far forward; if you're aimed right, it's too far back.

The club head should stay low to the ground throughout the putt, and your wrists should stay firm to help accomplish this.

Take a practice stroke before hitting the ball. Use a rhythmical, smooth swing that is similar to a pendulum motion. Keep your head steady and your lower body still as you accelerate through the ball.

Make sure that the pace of your stroke will get the ball to the hole. "Never up, never in," they say. If you do not hit the ball hard enough to reach the hole, you have no chance of making the putt. For long putts, pace is more important than line, as long as you get the ball within 1 or 2 feet. Hit the ball firmly on short putts to take any break out of play.

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.

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