for Better Golf: Improve your putting
Editor's note: This is the third
in a series of five columns on common golf problems.
By Josh Perry
July 14, 2008 | Anyone can use a few more strokes
off their game. Improve your putting and you will definitely
achieve this. Putting is by far the most important part
of golf, besides the mental aspect. Everyone has missed
those par saving putts or those six footers for birdie.
If you want to shoot lower and keep your scores consistent,
try spending more time on the putting green and less
time practicing being the long ball hitter.
Putts from six feet and in should be made eight times
out of 10. Professional golfers can make seven to eight
out of 10 putts from 10 feet and in. This is how they
manage to keep a round respectably, where the average
golfer would miss and make bogey or double. One problem
with the average golfer is that most donít spend enough
time on the practice putting green. If they do spend
time there, they are not practicing the way they should.
One technique to practice is the tee technique. If you
watch the pros practice their putting a lot of times
they wonít be putting to the designated holes but they
will putt to golf tees that they place on the green.
This is a very simple way to help improve your putting.
Start off by placing a golf tee in the green so itís
sticking up, like you would if you were teeing off.
Try to pick somewhere flat to start. Place a ball every
2 feet away from the tee, so you would put one at 2
ft., then 4 ft., then 6 ft., etc. until you get around
10 ft. away. Start with the two foot putt and make your
way back until you finish the line of balls. Try not
to move the next ball until you have made the one before.
Once you have made all the balls try moving the tee
to different spots on the green. Youíre not going to
have every putt be flat and straight so move the tee
around so the putts have some sort of break either to
the right or left, up or downhill. Try not to move to
different spots of the green until you have made all
of the putts on the previous hole. This practicing technique
can also be used when chipping around the green. Instead
of chipping to a hole, try chipping to a golf tee. If
you can hit that little tee the majority of the time
you should be able to make it in the cup. Not only will
this help your putting but it will also help you mentally
when faced with those par savers.
The most important thing to remember about putting
is making sure your putter goes straight back and straight
forward. The tendency is to take the putter back straight
but then try to force the ball to the hole on the follow
through. Thatís when a lot of golfers pull or push their
putts. A good practicing technique for this is to set
the putter head on the ground about five feet from the
hole. Put one tee just past the toe of the putter and
one just behind the heel. Leave enough room for the
putter head to just fit through. Then make a line of
about four to five tees behind the ones that were placed.
There should be around five on each side resembling
a hallway. Put the ball in-between the front tees and
putt through the tees to the hole. If you lined your
tees up right, you should make the putt almost every
time. This helps you to keep that putter face square
and go where you intended it to go.
Finding the right speed for putts is a difficult thing.
There are a lot of factors to think about. One practice
suggestion is to putt from far away, up to holes down
to holes. If you are working on putting speed always
move around and putt from different distances every
time you putt. If you putt from 20 feet one time, move
up to eight feet the next time. Itís not going to be
as helpful to sit and putt 10 putts from the one spot
then move on to a different distance. All youíre doing
is getting used to that length putt, then when you move
to a closer putt, you will either leave it short or
hit it too far. Always change the distances each time
you putt. You will learn faster changing every putt
than if you sit at one spot for a while then move to
another. Train your muscles to get used to different
length putts each time.
One other helpful tip when working on distance is
to bring the putter back the same length that you follow
through. If you have a two-foot putt you would take
the putter back around a foot and you would follow through
a foot. Doing this helps a lot on longer putts. If you
slow your putting stroke down a little and just make
a bigger swing at the ball, you will not only get the
speeds down but you will also hit the ball more accurately
toward the hole. When you practice like this, it helps
your body to remember how much to take the putter back
and through for different length putts. Try to avoid
short quick putting strokes. Those are sure to make
you miss. Make sure your putting stroke is smooth and
To be a better putter takes a lot of practice. You
need to spend at least the same amount or even more
time on putting than on your long game. Putting is the
hardest part of golf so it requires the most practice.
Also have putting contests with friends. You will always
concentrate more if you are trying to beat someone else
than if you are doing it by yourself. It makes something
that may seem boring a little more fun to practice.