1. Change your grip
I have rarely seen excellent players who keep the same grip when putting. As the hands play very little part in the putting stroke, and should not override the up and down movement of the shoulders, the most popular grip is the Reverse Overlap which brings the hands together as one unit. It is basically the same as the Vardon grip but with the left index finger and right little finger in reversed positions, i.e. the left index finger is on top of the fingers of the right hand and the right little finger is touching the grip. In the Left-hand-low grip or Cross-handed grip the right hand is placed at the top of the putter grip, and the left hand at the bottom, to minimize right hand dominance (for right hand golfers). The right index finger goes down the back of the shaft over the left hand fingers, which links both hands. Another putting grip is the Gator or Claw grip, where the the fingers of the bottom hand are on top of the grip rather than on the bottom. For the different putting grips, see: types of putting grips >>
Tip: choose the posture you are most comfortable with…Either with your feet closed or opened, with your body curved over the ball or much straighter. Again what makes you feel more at ease, but allows you to keep your head and center of gravity stock still throughout the stroke. (see further). If you want to play at your best consider switching to three grips, not just a different grip for your putting and the rest of the game, but one specific grip for power, short game and putting. But that’s a different story.
2. Make your Shoulders and Arms do the Work
The main source of movement is in the shoulders, hands and arms acting all together. Think about the three of them like a triangle. When making a shot, use the “imaginary” triangle by moving the shoulders only and going through the shot leveraging the weight of the putter (as well as the shoulder movement).
Tip: Your hands (and wrists!) are dead. The club shaft and the left forearm should form a straight, solid line.
3. Keep your head still
Every good putter keeps the head absolutely still from start to finish. And the head, as well as the eyes, should be on the vertical of the ball before striking. If an “imaginary” tear falling from your eyes “wets” the ball, it means that your head is absolutely well positioned.
Tip: Sometimes you may have the temptation to look if the ball strike is heading towards the hole. Don’t ! This attitude will cause an even minimal movement of your head that may cause putting failure or putting unconsistency. Learn to strike your putting shot without looking (at the shot) but just listening to the noise of the ball falling… into the hole.
4. Read the putting line:
The secret for good putting is that your mind is able to visualize the line between the hole and the ball.
However, the most common mistake, when doing this, is to start analyzing the “potential” trajectory starting from the hole backwards to the ball stance: wrong….
You have to do exactly the opposite, you have to mentally visualize the ideal route of the ball from its position towards the hole (as at the end this is going to be the actual route of the ball….).
Tip: if golf is 30% physical and 70% mental, putting is probably 5% physical and 95% mental……If you’re missing some putting shots, just stop. Relax and breathe. Think what you did wrong. Reset the mistake to build your trust and shoot again. You will make it!
5. Think ‘one-two’ tempo
A “paramount” to achieve a correct pace and rhythm in putting is to make the backstroke and forward stroke the identical same length. Also, always accelerate at the moment you impact the ball, this is a guarantee of straight shots.
Tip: Perform the same routine every time. It helps to build a mechanic consistency into putting (probably the only shot in golf that follows some repetitiveness….) and build your confidence. There is nothing better than bad putting to destroy one’s trust, hence, one’s play…
1. Keep a ‘one-two’ tempo.
2. Keep your head absolutely still.
3. Make your arms and shoulders do most of the work.
4. Adapt your grip.
5. Treat every putt as though it were straight.
To score well at golf you must be able to “one putt” four to five greens a round. The average player hits less than 30% of greens in regulation. These statistics mean a player who desires to score well must get up and down from off the green on a consistent basis. Chippers can help the intermediate to beginning player get close enough to one putt from the fringe. Use your natural putting stroke without the risk of “bladeing” the ball over the green or digging into the turf with a sand wedge.
Top 3 Recommended Putting Books:
The guru-cum-sports psychologist of choice among the world’s top golfers will help you understand the rationale behind solid sustainable putting scoring.
The essential book on putting by all-time best putter Dave Stockton. The book will help you find consistency and confidence with the putter, by focusing on your line and the ball’s ultimate destination rather than on your stance.
One of the best books ever written to effectively improve your putting.