The putting stroke is the foundation of the golf swing. It can also account for nearly 50% of your score. Therefore, putting provides an opportunity to quickly improve your score. Unfortunately for many players, a two foot putt counts the same as a 300 yard drive. The following tips are designed to improve your putting fundamentals and help lower your score.
Set Up Your Triangle
Setting up to the golf ball promotes a good swing while a poor set up promotes extra movements and compensations. Begin with your feet shoulder width apart. Allow a slight bend in your knees. Develop an athletic set up by leaning forward at the waist. The arms should hang down tension free. This forms a triangle between your arms and shoulders. Position the golf ball slightly forward of center with your eyes directly over the golf ball.
Create Parallel Lines
Position your feet, knees, arms and shoulders parallel to the target line. The target line is an imaginary line that runs through the golf ball toward your target. Due to undulations on the putting green, the target line may curve on the green and you may be lined up to the right or left of the hole. Rarely will you face a perfectly straight putt. Some players prefer to open their stance which allows them to see the line better and their arms past their body more freely.
Create a Pendulum Motion
Initiate the putting stroke by pushing the left arm back while the left shoulder moves down. Consequently, the right shoulder will move up. Allow for a slight pause before the forward swing begins. During the forward swing, the left shoulder will move up while the right shoulder moves down. This allows the arms to create a pendulum motion. Keep the putter head low to the ground throughout the entire stroke. Remember how the arms and shoulders form a triangle in the set up. Maintain the triangle during the putting stroke.
The only movement should be the arms and shoulders. Keep your wrists firm and lower body still throughout the stroke.
Finish the Putting Stroke
Many players take an enormous backswing and decelerate into impact. Rather, focus on making a shorter, more controlled backswing and accelerating through impact. In addition, focus your eyes on the back of the golf ball. Especially on short putts, keep your head still and listen for the ball to drop in the hole. This will help develop an accelerating stroke rather than a decelerating blow. The proper tempo on the backswing and forward swing will help create the proper putting stroke.
Understand the Break
Reading the green can be very tricky. There is nothing more frustrating than hitting great shots to the green only to 3-putt from a close distance because you can’t figure out how the putt breaks. The ball will always break from the high side to the low side. Determine the high side and visualize how the putt will break. Therefore, you will rarely set up directly at the hole.
The speed of the putt will also determine how much the putt will break. The faster the ball is traveling the less it will break while the slower the ball is traveling the more it will break. When facing a long putt, you can sometimes ignore the initial break since the ball will speed right through it. However, pay close attention to the break around the hole. When the ball slows down t will break significantly around the hole.
Players are often confused how to hit shorter putts. There are two options. A firmer stroke will help take the break out of the putt. The other option is to hit the putt easier and play more break. Many players prefer to make a slightly firmer putt and take the break out of putts within 5 feet of the hole.