If you can putt well, you can score well compared to your current handicap. This article will give you some tips to step up your game and become a better putter.
Putting is extremely important when it comes to your overall performance as a golfer.
On average, putting accounts for about 43% of all the strokes you make in a round, more than any other aspect of the game.
If your putting game is weak, it can greatly affect your overall performance. That’s why it’s crucial to focus on enhancing this area.
Becoming a good putter requires understanding the basics, recognizing your tendencies, and practicing your stroke diligently.
Today, I’ll share the fundamental principles of putting with you. After that, you’ll discover the top 9 tips that will help you dominate the greens.
9 Top Putting Tips That Will Help You Lower Your Golf Scores
Here are 9 putting tips that will help you master the greens.
First, let’s begin with some putting tips aimed at beginners, which will focus on the basics of grip and posture. After that, we’ll move on to providing putting tips for more experienced players. This will include a range of drills and training aids to enhance your skills.
1- Choose the Best Putting Grip
Out of all the different technical aspects of golf, there might not be one with more variations than how you hold the putter. When it comes to gripping your putter, you have several options available, such as:
Regular Putting Grip
A regular putting grip is when you hold the putter with your hands in a similar way to how you grip your other clubs. The main difference is how the “V” shapes are formed between your index finger and thumb.
When gripping an iron or wood, those “V’s” would point towards your trailing shoulder. However, when putting, your thumbs should run straight down the center of the grip. This aligns the “V’s” more with your chin. The back of your lead hand should face the target, and the palm of your trailing hand should do the same.
When it comes to connecting your hands during putting, some golfers prefer to grip the putter the same way as they do with their regular clubs, with the trailing pinky finger interlocking or overlapping the index finger of the lead hand. Many golfers use a technique called a “reverse overlap” to connect their hands. This involves placing the lead index finger across the adjacent fingers on the trailing hand.
Lower Lead Hand
In this grip, you switch the position of your hands compared to the standard putting grip. Your lead hand is positioned below your trail hand.
Many golfers, including Jordan Spieth, opt for this popular technique to maintain a consistent and dependable putting stroke while keeping their shoulders level. Additionally, it helps to prevent the lead hand from dominating the stroke.
This putting grip became popular in the 1990s, thanks to Chris Demarco. With the Claw/Saw grip, you hold the putter as you normally would with your leading hand. However, your trailing hand grips the club in the opposite direction, with the back of your hand facing the target.
In this grip style, your hands are not connected.
The purpose of this grip is similar to the lead hand low grip. It helps eliminate the influence of your trailing hand in the putting stroke.
The Armlock is a pretty new way of holding the putter. The most famous player who uses this grip style is Bryson DeChambeau. Other players who have used this grip style include Keegan Bradley, Matt Kuchar, and Will Zalatoris.
People who have adopted this style say that the biggest benefit is that it allows for more consistency and rhythm in your stroke.
With this grip, you’ll use a longer putter with a longer grip. The shaft of the putter rests against your leading forearm. The putter now becomes an extension of your leading arm.
Your leading and trailing hands will hold the putter lower on the grip. Most golfers using this technique will hold the putter with a standard grip.
Introducing the Wristlock!
The Wristlock putting grip and style is a modified version of the armlock technique. The only distinction is that the club’s handle doesn’t extend as far up as it does in the Armlock style.
When it comes to the setup, there’s virtually no distinction except for the fact that the club’s handle is positioned against the wrist of the leading hand.
How Much Pressure Should You Apply When Gripping?
Our hands serve as the crucial connection between the club and our body. Regardless of the technique you prefer, it is vital to ensure that your grip enables you to effectively control the clubface.
When it comes to your putting grip, remember this final tip: maintain a moderately light pressure. Think of a scale from 1 to 10, where 10 means gripping too tightly and 1 means a very loose grip. Try to find a nice middle ground around 4 or 5 for a comfortable grip.
2- Go for a Shoulder-Width Stance and a Triangle Posture
When you’re thinking about giving tips to seniors regarding putting, it’s crucial to use the correct posture that keeps you performing at a high level.
Feeling comfortable over the ball is vital. However, veering too far away from the fundamental setup for putting can lead to problems. Just keep this in mind and make adjustments accordingly.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Your feet should be about the same width as your shoulders. If you’re putting for a longer distance or it’s a windy day, you can go a little wider. This will give you a more stable base.
Bend forward from your hips
Bend forward from your hips, but keep your knees slightly bent.
Position your arms.
Just let your arms hang straight down directly under your shoulders. Relax your elbows and keep them fairly close to the sides of your lower body, around the bottom of your ribs. We’ll talk more about body alignment later, but remember that having straight body lines is important for consistent putting.
Create a triangle shape.
Once your arms are in the right position, you’ll notice that a triangle starts to form. The triangle is made up of your squared shoulders, your arms hanging straight down, and your hands holding the putter.
Focus your eyes on the ball.
Ever wondered where to look while putting? Make sure your eyes are directly over the ball, and the ball should be in line with your lead armpit.
These adjustments will help you improve your putting technique and consistency.
To set up properly and achieve the right posture for putting, follow these guidelines:
3- Get Your Body Aligned Parallel to the Left of the Target Line
When it comes to tips for golfers with high handicaps, you can improve your game by making small adjustments to your alignment. Just like in a full swing, it’s important to align your body parallel to the left side of the target line.
What this means is that you want your toes, knees, hips, and shoulders to be parallel to the left side of the line you’re aiming for. Left-handed golfers, you’ll need to do the opposite, but I’m sure you’re already familiar with that.
Here’s a pro tip: Avoid the common mistake some golfers make by aligning their bodies directly with the target. This misalignment will cause your target and ball path to veer too far to the right of where you want it to go.
4- Utilize the Straight Back or Straight-Thru Stroke
When it comes to putting, there appear to be two groups of people who have different preferences for the stroke technique. Some prefer the straight back and straight-through method, while others opt for an arcing stroke that moves inside on the backswing, squares up at impact, and then moves on an inside path.
I like a combination of the two. For short to mid-range putts (around 20 feet or less), I prefer a straight back and straight-through path. However, as the putts get longer, I incorporate some arcing motion.
A common question asked by many golfers is how to control the distance in putting. It’s simple: the length of your stroke determines the distance the ball travels.
Regardless of the length of the putt, your tempo or stroke rate should always remain consistent. The best putters in the world follow a 2:1 ratio, where the through stroke is twice as fast as the backstroke.
To ensure a smooth and controlled stroke, it’s crucial to keep your body very still. The only thing in motion during your putt is the triangle formed by your arms hanging down from the shoulders and your hands gripping the putter.
5- Boost Your Putting Confidence by Closing Your Eyes
Golf is a game that heavily relies on your mental strength. Professional golfers often emphasize the importance of confidence when it comes to putting.
Jack Nicklaus once said, “In my mind, I never missed a putt.”
However, confidence doesn’t simply materialize out of thin air. That’s why I have a drill that can help you enhance your confidence, even if you’re a beginner.
Here’s how the Close Your Eyes Confidence Drill works:
- Let’s start with a 3-foot putt. Take three balls and go through your regular putting routine, including lining up, practicing your strokes, and so on. You aim to sink all three putts.
- Repeat step one until you successfully hole three consecutive putts.
- Once you’ve achieved three consecutive putts, go back to the same 3-foot distance. Follow your usual routine, but this time, make three practice strokes with your eyes closed. Feel the length of the stroke while keeping your eyes shut.
- Before each putt, close your eyes and maintain them closed throughout the stroke.
- Repeat step four until you manage to hole three consecutive putts with your eyes closed.
- After you’ve successfully holed three consecutive putts from 3 feet with your eyes closed, repeat steps 1-5, but this time from 6 feet. Your goal now is to make two out of three putts.
- Once you’ve completed steps 1-5 from 6 feet, progress to a 9-foot putt and repeat the process.
This drill enhances your sense of touch and instills tremendous confidence in your putting stroke.
To become a confident putter on the golf course, visualize yourself sinking putts during your pre-shot routine and practice strokes.
Remember, practice makes perfect!
6- Make a Circle of Confidence Around The Hole
When it comes to putting, one of the most important things is to minimize the number of times you three-putt. Three-putting can hurt your score.
You can find some interesting stats about three putting in a study conducted by Shot Scope. They break down the struggles of three-putting based on handicap, which is pretty cool.
I’ve taught golfers how to conquer the challenge of three-putting by creating their own personal “circle of confidence.” This refers to an area around the hole where they feel confident in making the second putt.
I feel pretty good about making 3-foot putts. So, whenever I have a putt from a certain distance, I rely on my trusty 3-foot “circle of trust.”
But what if I want to take a shot at a birdie putt in the range of 15 to 20 feet? In that case, I narrow my focus and aim to cut that circle in half, while still considering any misses within 3 feet around the hole. And for longer putts, I stick to my reliable “circle of confidence.”
7- Putting to an Intermediate Target is Essential
It’s crucial to aim for an intermediate target when it comes to putting. There are two important factors: the line and the speed.
When it comes to the line, I’ve always followed a technique called spot-putting. It means selecting a specific spot along your putting line as your target.
During my putting routine, I start by assessing the line from behind the ball. Once I identify the desired line, I choose an intermediate spot on that line, usually where the putt reaches its highest point. That spot becomes my main focus.
Afterward, I take a walk around the hole in a counterclockwise direction, checking my chosen spot at three, twelve, and nine o’clock positions. If any adjustments are needed, I make them while looking down the line.
As far as the line is concerned, my chosen spot remains my primary focus. I then take 2-3 practice strokes to gauge the required stroke length based on the putt’s distance. Following that, I repeat the phrase “I will make this putt” three times before actually making the stroke.
8- Improving Your Long Putts
If you want to improve your golf score and avoid the frustration of three-putting, practicing long putts is key. This drill focuses on reversing what you did during the short putt practice. Here’s what you need to do:
Find a spot on the practice green or an actual green that is about 25 feet away from the hole. Drop 3-5 balls onto the green. Just like with short putts, go through your usual routine of reading the putt, taking your grip, and practicing your swings. Set up in a comfortable position with slightly flexed knees.
Once you’re ready to hit the ball, keep your eyes on the target as you make a confident stroke. Don’t look at the ball, focus solely on the target. Repeat this process for all the balls you dropped onto the green. This drill of “looking at the target” helps you concentrate on two crucial aspects:
- Trusting Your Mechanics: By looking at the target instead of the ball, you’re forced to rely on the mechanics, rhythm, and tempo of the shot.
- Judging Distance Accurately: Looking at the target provides a better sense of the shot’s distance, especially after hitting a few balls in a row. With practice, you’ll improve your ability to read both the distance and the break of your long putts.
9- Read Putts Like a Clock
According to Mike Shannon, a golf instructor at the Sea Island Golf Performance Center in Georgia, if you want to simplify your putt reading and visualize where the ball will go into the hole, try thinking of it like a clock.
When you’re on the green with your putter, imagine a clock positioned on top of the hole, with the six o’clock position pointing directly at your ball. As you assess the line of your putt, visualize the exact spot on the clock where your ball will roll over and drop into the cup.
Now, all you need to do is react to that position on the clock. For instance, if you picture the ball entering the cup at five o’clock, focus on that specific edge of the cup as your address and set up for your putt. Once you’ve done this, confidently let that line guide your stroke. If you imagine the putt entering at seven or eight o’clock, follow the same preparations while concentrating on that part of the clock’s dial.
Once you’ve determined, in your mind, where the ball will enter the hole, trust your instincts and putt confidently, using the read you’ve determined.
To sum it up, around 43% of the strokes you make during a round are with the putter. So, it’s crucial to really focus and improve your skills with the flat stick. Today, my goal was to provide you with a beginner’s guide to putting fundamentals and share some of my top tips.
Out of all the aspects of the game where amateur players have the potential to reach professional levels, putting takes the cake.
By practicing dedicatedly on the greens, you could reduce your current average score by as much as 5, 6, 7, or even more shots. And that could translate into some extra cash in your pocket when you play your regular weekly game!