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How to Putt from Off the Green in Golf

In the game of golf, putting from off the green can often pose a challenge for players. When confronted with this situation, it is important to approach the shot with precision and technique. Firstly, it is crucial to assess the lie of the ball and the distance to the hole to determine the strength and direction of the putt. A careful observation of the terrain and any potential obstacles is also essential for a successful shot.

Additionally, it is important to select the appropriate club for the putt, taking into consideration the speed of the green and the distance to be covered. It is advisable to use a putter for shorter distances, while for longer distances, a club with more loft may be required. Moreover, it is imperative to avoid any unnecessary power in the stroke, instead focusing on a smooth and controlled swing to guide the ball towards the target. Maintaining a steady stance and a firm grip on the club is vital to ensure precision and control.

By implementing these strategies, golfers can improve their ability to putt from off the green with accuracy and confidence, ultimately enhancing their overall performance on the course. With some practice, you can hole more of these tricky putts and save strokes. This article provides a guide on how to putt from off the green in golf.

Assessing the Lie

The first step in putting from off the green is to assess the lie of your ball and the area around it. Examine if you have any obstructions like longer grass, bare patches, or sprinkler heads that could affect your putt. Determine how tight or fluffy the grass is and whether you have an uphill, downhill, or sidehill putt. Pay attention to the grain of the grass and how fast or slow the surface is making note of all these conditions will help you adjust your technique.

Altering Your Setup

When putting from off the green you will need to alter your normal putting setup to account for the changed surface. Widen your stance for more stability, gripping down on the putter to reduce its effective length. This will help keep the blade low through impact. Position the ball slightly back of center in your stance, maintaining an athletic posture by flexing your knees. Choose a putter with more loft to help get the ball airborne out of the longer grass. Adjusting these basic setup elements is key for solid contact.

Choosing Your Grip Style

You will also want to consider adjusting your grip when putting from around the greens. Using a standard grip can easily cause you to flip or twist your wrists through impact when putting from uneven lies. To prevent this, try a reverse overlap grip instead. Gripping down the shaft, rotate your right hand clockwise over your left while keeping both palms facing each other. This supports wrist movement on an arc, reducing face rotation.

Another option is the cross-handed grip. Flip both hands, placing your dominant hand low to quiet your wrists. Be sure to rotate the blade square before stroking. While awkward at first, a cross-handed grip can effectively take your wrists out of the stroke.

Adjusting Your Stance  

Dialing in the proper stance is critical for putting from off the green. Aim to emulate your normal address position as much as possible. Set your feet shoulder-width apart, aligning your shoulders, hips, and feet perpendicular to your target line. Distribute your weight evenly to both feet, flexing your knees for athleticism. Make sure to set the putter blade square behind the ball.  

However, also make adjustments for the fringe or rough lie. Widen your stance slightly for stability. Play the ball back one to two inches to ensure solid contact. Narrow the arc of your stroke to limit deceleration or a flipy release through impact. Practicing a few smooth, narrow strokes first is wise. Tuning your stance will promote consistency on short putts from off the green.  

Reading Grain and Break  

One of the biggest challenges on off-green putts is reading how much break or “grain” to play. The longer grass around greens means putts will roll slower and break less than on the manicured putting surfaces. Generally, you can play about one-third of the break compared to a similar putt on the green.  

So carefully assess the angle of the blades of grass to determine the direction they will influence your putt. Also, watch how approach shots land and release near your ball position. The grass growth pattern and mowing lines can provide clues on breaks too. If you have a tricky double-breaker, pick the slope with the greatest influence. Go with your read, making a confident stroke.

Types of Strokes

Executing a smooth, steady stroke is integral for putting from off the green. The pendulum motion of your typical stroke works well from tight lies in the fringe. Focus on rocking your shoulders evenly, taking the putter straight back and through along your target line. Contact the ball first, then brush underneath to impart overspin. 

On lies in light rough, utilize a punch stroke instead, driving down through impact to pop the ball out. Narrow your stance and grip down, keeping your wrists firm. Make a steep, abbreviated backswing, then accelerate aggressively through the ball. This descending blow will boost underspin for a quick stop.

From longer grass, a chopping or chip motion is best. Fatten up your stance, playing the ball back. Take a short, crisp swing, letting your wrists hinge through impact to slice down. Keep your lower body quiet, using your grip and shoulder rotation to control face angle. Mastering a variety of stroke techniques is useful when putting from around the greens.   

Practice Drills

Grooving your technique for off-green putts requires dedicated practice. Here are some handy drills:

  • Toss a ball into longer grass, drop a few balls around the fringe, then putt to a hole from different lies. Repeat continually. 
  • Make a circle of balls around the hole, then try to hole putts from all angles and positions. This builds confidence on knee-knockers.
  • Have a friend walk ahead then toss balls back so you get random lies. Putt them from wherever they land. 
  • Use alignment sticks or a board to create an uneven surface, then work on punch/chip strokes up to a hole. Dial in distance and pace.
  • With routine repetition, your sense of touch and skill will gradually improve on putts from off the green. Do not neglect these challenging shots.


How do you practice putting without a green?

You can practice putting at home without a green by using a small indoor putting mat or cleared flat surface to putt on. You can also make DIY putting greens using plywood and artificial turf or old carpet. Create ramps and breaks with wood trim or books underneath to practice breaking putts. Brush the surface smooth before rolling putts and use regulation holes or make holes with PVC pipe or cans. Practicing pace, alignment, stroke path, and green reading this way keeps your putting sharp anytime.

What is an illegal putt in golf?

An illegal putt in golf is when a player anchors the club against their body while stroking, often referred to as “belly putting.” This method of bracing the grip end of the putter into the stomach or below the chin was banned because it takes improper physical actions out of the stroke. Other illegal putts include touching the line of your putt on the green, putting with a non-conforming club, putting while another ball could move, and missing or double-hitting the ball. Committing any of these violations incurs a 2-stroke penalty.

Is there a right way to putt?

While there are common fundamentals, there is no universally “right way” to putt. Golfers have used very different, unorthodox grips and strokes effectively. As long as a method adheres the Rules of Golf, stays anchored in athletic fundamentals of grip, posture and alignment, and works consistently for an individual player, it can be an acceptable, “right way” for them. Most instructors teach conventional techniques as a basis, but putting very much comes down to personal feel and results.

How do I get really good at putting?

To become an excellent putter, you need to commit to routine, focused practice using effective training aids and drills. Spending at least 30 minutes a day on the practice green dialing in setup fundamentals as well as stroke path and pace is key. Mix up long lag putts with repetitious short putts around the hole. Place tees around the cup forcing you to roll exact lines. Alternate clubs to improve feel. Chart makes vs. misses. Challenge friends in contests or games. The more you consciously practice in match situations, the better your nerve and touch on the greens. Great putting requires dedication, feedback, adjustment, and muscle memory.


Putting from off the green tests every golfer’s finesse and adaptability around the greens. Holed putts from the fringe or rough can be some of the most satisfying shots in golf. By altering your setup, grip, stance, and stroke for the situation, you can hole more of these tricky putts and lower your scores. Assessing different lies, accounting for less break, and controlling strike will help you conquer putts from off the green. Integrate dedicated practice, and you’ll have one of the most creative short games on the course. Expect to pull off some incredible pars and birdies by sharpening this versatile shotmaking skill.

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