If you are trying to knock strokes off of your score the next time you hit the golf course, the green is the best place to start. We all seek to avoid the dreaded three-putt, but we fall victim to it all too often. If you are looking for ways to putt better on the green, you’ve come to the right place!
Check out these five tips that we have for you to apply to your game. Some of these tips include drills that you can follow. Most of them require minimal equipment, and we have seen them help players gain confidence and purpose in each putt.
Here are the tips:
#1 – Start With Your Setup
Learning how to putt better starts with your setup. When we talk about setup, we are referring to your stance, posture, and position of your arms, shoulders, and elbows. Let’s run through these elements of your setup one-by-one.
The position of your feet is the foundation of everything else in your putting stroke. Make sure you center the ball between your feet and square your feet up to align with the line you expect your putt to take. A general rule of thumb is to have your feet shoulder-length apart. If you need to widen your stance for better stability, do what will feel comfortable and stable.
The way you set up for your putt needs to be comfortable and repeatable to avoid tension in your body. Slightly bend your knees and try to avoid bending over excessively as this will result in too much sway in your stance.
Aim to bend forward slightly upright to the point that 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 maintain the read you made of the green.
Positioning Your Arms, Shoulders & Elbows
Once your posture is set, grip your putter and lower it to the ground to the point that it is softly touching the ground. Your arms will likely position in a way that your hands are aligned under your shoulder with a slight bend in the elbows. Square your shoulders relative to the line of your putt.
#2 – Find a Putting Grip That Works For You
While there is a variety of putting grips you can adopt for your game, there is no wrong answer to the grip you choose. The most important factor in your grip is ensuring that the grip allows you to make square contact with the ball. Some of the most common putting grips are as follows:
- Conventional: A familiar grip when compared to how you grip other clubs in your bag. You will not interlock your fingers around the back of the grip with a small overlap of the thumbs around the front. Both thumbs will be pointed downward toward the head of the putter.
- Cross-Handed: Simply put, this grip involves reversing your hands when holding the putter with less overlap of the thumbs.
- Vertical Claw: An unconventional grip where your left hand is placed on the upper part of the grip with the thumb pointing down. With the right hand shaped as a claw, place your hand around the back of the grip leaving the front of the grip generally untouched
- Sideways Claw: Follow the same pattern as the vertical claw. Your right hand will form a claw shape with your thumb and the fingers pointed straight and slightly angled down as you grip the bottom
If you have not yet chosen a putting grip, experiment with these grips and see if there is one that suits you. Most importantly, stick with it to ensure that your grip is the last thing you are thinking about when making putts.
#3 Reading the Green With Confidence
Take the time to understand the slopes and distances that you will face when putting on the green. There are two effective ways to do this that will give you the best viewpoint: surveying from the low-side and side-to-side surveys.
Let’s start with surveying with the low side. If your golf ball is positioned downhill from the hole, survey the green from the hole. Do the opposite if your ball is positioned uphill from the hole. Surveying from the low-side point of view puts your line of sight more level with the slopes in front of you. You will have a better view of the line you should take to putt effectively.
Another way to confidently read the green is to take a side-by-side or horizontal survey of the green. A horizontal read will supplement your low-side read by giving you a better idea of how much of a slope you face. If you know how steep your slopes are, you know how to better apply power to your putting stroke.
#4 – Focus On Routine & Process
Developing a routine that you can follow is vital to making consistent, effective putts. Find a way to incorporate the tips provided in this guide into a routine that is repeatable before taking a putt. What’s most important is that you have a relatively high degree of familiarity with your setup, grip, and the green.
Once you have developed a routine that works for you, focus on the process of your putts rather than the outcome. After all, we are all expecting the outcome of our putts to be sinking on the first stroke. Remember that everything we do leading up to the putt will lead us to success. Trust the process and the outcome will naturally follow! To help you focus on your routine and process, follow this tip that ChrisRyanGolf demonstrates:
- Choose a line that you will follow for your putt (try to use tip #3 here)
- Take a tee and stick it in the entry point of where the ball will fall into the hole. For example, if your slope goes from left to right, stick the tee slightly to the left side of the hole as that will be the entry point for the ball.
- Once you have gone through your routine, focus on hitting your ball so that you the bill will reach the entry point.
This drill will help you focus on the process of getting the ball to the entry point and letting gravity do the rest of the work.
#5 – Ball Marking and Lining Up
For this drill you will need a sharpie to draw a line on your ball that will line up with the path your ball will take to reach the hole. Take your ball and draw a line that runs through the logo of the ball so that roughly half the diameter of the ball has a straight line.
[image of ball marked with line]
Place your ball on the green and point the line in the direction you want your ball to take when you first hit the ball. You’ll notice marking your ball with this line essentially gives you an extension of the alignment marker that you see on your putter.
[image of marked ball lined up with putter alignment marker]
After you have lined up your ball, go through your established routine and take your putt. This drill will help you better visualize your read of the green. With the proper speed putt, you should start to see your putts reach the hole (and without breaking any rules!).
If you haven’t already, head over to your local golf course and start practicing these tips on the putting green. The great thing about putting better is that practice is easy and repeatable! As long as we develop the right fundamentals on the green, we will be able to confidently improve our scores on the links. Follow along with us at All Purpose Golf for more tips and guides and let’s continue improving!