If the next time you hit the course you’re trying to hit your stroke count, the best place to start is on the green. We all try to avoid the dreaded threesome hit, but all too often we fall prey to it. If you’re looking for ways to putt better on the green, you’ve come to the right place!
Check out these five tips we have for you to apply to your game. Some of these tips include exercises you can do. Most of them require minimal equipment, and we’ve seen them help players gain confidence and purpose in every shot.
Here are the tips:
#1 – Start with configuration
Learning to putt better starts with setup. When we talk about alignment, we mean the posture, posture and position of the shoulders, arms and elbows. Let’s analyze these configuration elements one by one.
The position of your feet is the basis of everything else about your shot. Make sure you center the ball between your feet and align your feet to align with the line you expect to hit. The general rule is to put your feet shoulder length apart. If you need to widen your stance for better stability, do what feels comfortable and stable.
The way you position yourself to strike needs to be comfortable and repetitive to avoid tension in your body. Bend your knees slightly and try to avoid bending over too much as this will cause too much sway in your posture.
Try to lean forward slightly to the point where you can look directly down at the ball. You should be able to focus on the ball and the line you plan to take. All of this will help you keep a reading on the green.
Setting up shoulders, arms and elbows
Once positioned, grab the putter and lower it to the ground so that it is lightly touching the ground. Your arms will probably align so that your hands are aligned under your shoulder with a slight bend in your elbows. Straighten your arms in relation to the line of impact.
#2 – Find a grip that suits you
While there are many putting holds you can use in your game, there is no wrong answer to your chosen hold. The most important factor in grip is making sure your grip allows direct contact with the ball. Here are some of the most common putting grips:
- Conventional: A familiar grip compared to how you hold other clubs in your bag. You will not intertwine your fingers around the back of the grip with a slight overlap of the thumbs in front. Both thumbs will point down towards the putter’s head.
- Cross-Handed: Simply put, this grip involves the hands being reversed while holding the putter with less overlapping of the thumbs.
- Vertical Claw: An unconventional grip where the left hand is placed on top of the grip with the thumb pointing down. With your right hand claw-shaped, place your hand on the back of the grip, leaving the front of the grip essentially intact
- Side claw: Follow the same pattern as the vertical claw. Your right hand will form a claw shape with the thumb and fingers pointing straight and slightly downward as you grip the bottom
If you haven’t chosen a putting grip yet, experiment with these grips and see if there’s one that works for you. Most importantly, stick to it to make sure the grip is the last thing on your mind when making putts.
#3 Reading green confidently
Take the time to understand the slopes and distances you will encounter when setting up the green. There are two effective ways to do this that will give you the best viewpoint: level measurements low side AND hand in hand surveys.
Let’s start with the measurements with the low side. If the golf ball is set down from the hole, examine the green from the hole. Do the opposite if your ball is uphill from the hole. Low viewpoint measurements make your line of sight more aligned with the slopes in front of you. You’ll have a better view of the line you should take to hit successfully.
Another way to confidently read the green is to perform a horizontal or parallel analysis of the green. The horizontal reading will complement the reading on the bottom side, giving you a better idea of how steep the slope is. If you know how steep your slopes are, you know how to better apply power when hitting.
#4 – Concentrate on routine and process
Developing a routine you can follow is essential to making consistent, effective strokes. Find a way to incorporate the tips in this guide into a routine that can be repeated before striking. The bottom line is that you have a relatively high degree of familiarity with setup, grip and the green.
Once you’ve developed a routine that works for you, focus on the process of your strokes, not the outcome. After all, we all expect our putt scores to drop after the first shot. Remember that everything we do before hitting will lead us to success. Trust the process and the result will come naturally! To help you stay focused on your routine and process, follow this tip Chris Ryan Golf demonstrates:
- Choose a line to follow when putting (try tip #3 here)
- Take the tee and stick it into the entry point where the ball will go into the hole. For example, if the slope runs from left to right, tape the tee slightly to the left side of the hole as this will be the entry point for the ball.
- After completing the routine, focus on hitting the ball to get the bill to the entry point.
This exercise will help you concentrate on the process of delivering the ball to the entry point and let gravity do the rest of the work.
#5 – Marking and placing balls
For this exercise, you will need a sharp tool to draw a line on the ball that aligns with the path the ball will take to reach the hole. Take the ball and draw a line through the ball logo so that about half the diameter of the ball is a straight line.
(ball image marked with a line)
Place the ball on the green and direct the line in the direction you want the ball to go after the first hit of the ball. You will notice that marking the ball with this line essentially extends the alignment mark you see on your puter.
(image of marked ball lined up with putter alignment mark)
Once the ball is set up, follow the established routine and take the shot. This exercise will help you better visualize the green reading. With enough speed, you should start to see your putts go into the hole (and without breaking any rules!).
If you haven’t already, head to your local golf course and start practicing these tips on the putting green. The great thing about improving is that the practice is easy and repeatable! As long as we develop the right foundation on the green, we will certainly be able to improve our link performance. Follow us on All Purpose Golf for more tips and guides and let’s keep improving!