Not only is putting the most important part of your golf game, it’s the area where you can save the most strokes. If you want to putt better, there are some simple changes to make that can make all the difference.
If you ever need the motivation to work on your putting stroke, try to think about the fact that a three-foot putt counts for the same number of strokes as your 300 yard drive. It’s pretty humbling and certainly gets me motivated to work on trying to putt better.
The great thing about these changes I’ll give you is that they only take a few minutes to implement. Don’t worry; you won’t be starting from the ground up.
5 Ways to Help You Putt Better
These five ways to help you putt better do not have to take place in any particular order. If you want to start with number one or number five, it really doesn’t matter; the key is to get started. Here’s another thing to keep in mind, you can never get too good at putting!
Create A Consistent Set Up Over Your Putts
Setting up over the ball to take your putt needs to be the same every time. If your setup is inconsistent, your stroke will be unpredictable.
There are a variety of grips that can work for golfers. You don’t need to hold the club the same way you hold your irons and driver. I recommend the reverse overlap putting grip as it is comfortable, easy to repeat, and something that most players can quickly learn.
In addition, it’s essential to ensure that your eyes are over the ball when you are putting. If you need to stand a little taller to get closer to the ball, that is completely acceptable. Make sure that the ball position is consistent and your feet are about shoulder width apart for your putting stroke.
Lastly, the alignment needs to be done the same way each time. I like to come from behind, pick a spot on the line to aim to, step in with the putter head first, and then get the feet, shoulders, and hands all set up correctly.
A consistent setup creates more consistent results. It’s really that simple.
Stalk Your Putts
One of the biggest mistakes that amateur golfers make is they walk up to a putt and just hit and hope. There is not enough consideration and that leads to awful misreads on line and pace.
Of course, there is a fine line between being too slow and causing issues on the course and properly looking at what you have in front of you. However, there is a quick solution to this. I will always walk around the ball on the putting green.
Even if I have a thirty foot putt, I always do a full circle and look at the putt from the other side so I can see the slope. In addition, this walking to the hole gives your brain an idea as to how far you will need to swing the putter back in order to get the ball close to the hole.
Lastly, it’s crucial to find the low point of the green and look at what your putt looks like from this position. This is always the easiest way to see the slope and to get a better idea for the speed of your putt as well.
Learn what to look for and then look for it on each putt, and quite a few more of your putts will go in the hole.
Visualize Your Line and Pace
Visualization is important in golf, whether you are putting or smashing driver. If you can visualize the shot that needs to take place, it becomes much easier to pull it off. One of the best ways to putt better is to visualize not just the line but also the pace.
The two primary components of putting are speed and direction. If you have one but not the other, the ball doesn’t go into the hole.
Some golfers like to visualize the putt with their eyes closed, others with their eyes open.
I have added a piece to my pre-shot routine that allows me to stand behind the ball, look down the line and picture it rolling end over end. It took some time to work on visualization. At first, I always felt as though I wasn’t doing it correctly.
However, what I quickly learned is that there is no right or wrong way; the key is to visualize! The only thing you can do wrong here is to skip this step entirely. Tiger says he paints a picture in his head of the putt- so why not try that?
Hit Putts Confidently
Deceleration is a negative term in golf. If you decelerate when hitting out of a bunker or decelerate when putting, the results are the same. To hit a perfect putt, you need to be accelerating through the ball.
If you slow down because you are scared about the putt going too far, chances are it won’t even make it to the hole, and you will end up never giving yourself a chance. Choose the right line and then trust the stroke and hit your putt with confidence.
Not only do tentative putting strokes leave the golf ball short of the hole, but they can also make players hit the ball to the right of the target and miss the intended line.
Bob Rotella is an incredible help in the mental game, especially in the short game, and he said he’d “rather you hit the wrong line confidently than the right line tentatively.” This quote should teach us all about the importance of trusting the stroke and hitting the ball with confidence.
One of the things I’ve done to help improve my chances of being a better and more confident putter is developing a positive affirmation before I hit my putt. Some golfers can say, “I’m going to make this putt,” but that didn’t work for me.
I had to justify the work I had put in on the putting green to fully believe I could make it. Sometimes I’ll say, “you have made 1000 of these,” or something like, “it breaks left to right; it’s your favorite.” I try to train my brain that we need to go after this and make sure that the ball gets there and it drops in the hole.
One thing worth mentioning is that the confident stroke is essential even on the days when you are not putting well. If you make a bunch of puts early on in your round, it’s easy to confidently attack the ball. However, on the days when you struggle, take time to reset and ensure you trust what you are doing.
Practice The Knee Knockers
Last but certainly not least, you need to spend some time practicing the knee knockers.
Have you ever stood over a putt and thought about missing it instead of making it? We all have. That mindset of “please do not miss this” is terrible, and it can sneak up on you quickly. Where it comes into play is on the putting green from close proximity to the hole.
The 3 to 6-foot putts are the ones that need to go in the hole. If you are going to shoot the scores, you want you can’t miss these putts.
My favorite way to practice the knee knockers is to set up a circle around the hole with eight golf balls. Each of the golf balls is three feet from the hole. The goal is to be able to get yourself around the entire hole without missing a putt.
Some players find this drill a little frustrating and will just try to make one before moving to the next, but the ultimate goal is to make all eight with eight putts.
Once you can do this from three feet, you move back and make a circle from four feet all the way around the hole. The four-foot putts are more challenging, and eventually, you work your way to the five and six-footers. Most players will start missing a few in the five and six-foot range, but the good news is you can learn about what areas of the putting game you need to work on the most.
When you can make it all the way around the hole without missing, your confidence will be higher, and the ability to make these putts on the course is greatly increased. Practice can’t make perfect in putting, but it can certainly make you better.
Final Thoughts for Better Putting
The best part about learning how to putt better is its effectiveness. Think about a round where you two putt every hole. This is a total of 36 putts. Even if you made just a few more three foot putts, you could get this down to 32 putts. Even if you spent all day on the range working on your irons and drivers, it takes a long time to make up for four shots.
With putting the change happens fast, and it will only inspire you to improve the rest of your game. Chances are when you become a better putter, you will start to chip more confidently and even hit approach shots more confidently. There is a definite ripple effect when learning how to putt better.