Luke is an avid weekend-warrior golfer from the East Coast who plays golf more than he cares to admit.
Today you will learn step-by-step how to putt better and common mistakes to avoid.
Answer: 3 Simple ways to learn how to putt better
- Keep Your Eyes Focused on the Target: When you take your stance, make sure your eyes are focused on the hole, not the ball. This will help you visualize the target and give you a better understanding of the line and speed necessary to make a successful putt.
- Make Sure Your Grip is Comfortable: Having an uncomfortable grip can have an adverse effect on your putting, as it can disrupt your normal routine and cause tension in your wrists and arms that can lead to over-compensation or inaccuracies in distance judging and clubface angles.
- Keep an Even Tempo: An even tempo is important when putting, since it helps create consistency in both aim and stroke speed. Keeping a steady rhythm will also ensure that any small variances in distance or angle don’t affect the outcome of your putt too much.
There’s nothing quite like standing out in the green, driving your golf club as hard as you can into the ball, and watching it soar.
How to putt well and like the greats
To be a great golfer and a good golf ball putter, you need to know more than just how to hit your ball with great strength. It would help if you also mastered the art of putting. Putting is all about a gentle yet accurate shot.
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Let’s begin with approaching the green after an easy chip shot into regulation.
Approaching The Green
Alright, you’ve done the easy part; your ball has flown with great force onto the green. It’s now time to evaluate the slope of the land your ball sits. Depending on whether it’s uphill or downhill will determine how hard you need to hit the ball.
If it’s uphill, you will need a harder swing to force it up the hill. If it’s downhill, you’ll want to be much more gentle, as gravity will bring it down fast, focus on short putts.
You’ll also want to take the time now to evaluate what happens if you hit the ball past the hole on your first putt. Will it be uphill or downhill? Will it be stuck in the sand? All of this planning can help reinforce just how hard you need to strike the ball.
To take it a step further, you will want to imagine rain falling down the slope of the land next to your ball and picture which way it would flow. This exercise will help you visualize where your ball will turn once it’s in motion, allowing you to get the best shot possible.
Marking The Ball
Unlike any other spot on the golf course, putting green is where you can pick up your ball for any purpose. You don’t have to explain your reasoning to anyone. Still, you must follow a specific sequence of steps to do it correctly.
First, you must mark your ball. You can do so by placing a coin right behind your ball. It’s recommended that your coin has a straight line drawn across it so that you can visualize a clear line from your marker to the hole.
After the marker has been set down, you are now clear to pick your ball up. You may be asking yourself, why would I even want to pick up my ball in the first place? Doing so has numerous advantages, one of which is cleaning off your ball. If there is grass or mud stuck to the golf ball, it will affect the smoothness of the shot.
When you set the ball back down, make sure it’s directly in front of the marker. You can also take this time to find any writing on the ball, typically printed in a straight line. You can position the label so that it lines up with the hole, showing you the direction in which you should be hitting the ball.
As soon as your ball is back on the ground and in the position you want it, you may remove the marker. Don’t forget that after the marker is taken away, you may not pick up or reposition your ball again.
Take a deep breath before putting.
A focused breath will help prepare your body and mind by focusing on the shot at hand. Taking a deep breath will help focus your mind on your putt. Breathe out and clear away anything else going on in your life during these seconds of play.
Practice with three different lengths of putts
Practice ranging from short to long-distance putts. Practicing putting from different lengths will help you feel more comfortable, no matter how far you putt in a game.
Split your long putts into smaller ones
After practicing your putts at different distances, you may find that you’re still struggling to sink those long-distance putts. Breaking up a long putt into short putts can help make it more doable and ultimately result in fewer strokes.
Practice Your Strokes
Now it’s time to take a couple of steps away from the ball, so you can practice your strokes without fear of accidentally tapping it. Remember, you’ve already lined up your ball by this point, so there’s no need to focus on the direction of the swing. Focus on the intensity of your swing.
Visualize the ball going into the hole a few times until you feel comfortable with your stroke. Look at the hole while you swing, and this process will get easier the more you practice.
Putting The Ball
By now, you’ve done all of the technical work that has set you up for the optimal shot. Now is the time to take action.
This part is as simple as lining up the putter to the line you’ve created on the golf ball and taking your shot.
One thing that is important while putting your ball is to keep your eyes on the ball. You already know the direction you’re hitting and have felt the intensity in the practice shots.
Lookup up while hitting the ball can accidentally change the ball’s direction, adversely affecting the accuracy of the putt. Wait until the ball is far away from you, or listen for the ball to fall in the hole.
It’s essential to focus on the task at hand and not get in your head. Make sure you don’t rush this step.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Many new golfers believe that you should grip the putter between the fingers. Despite contrary belief, holding the putter between flat, inward-facing palms is the key to a suitable grip. If this feels weird, practice with a ruler off the green.
Work on minimizing your body movement. Earlier, you learned that you should keep your eyes on the ball not to throw off your shot. Movement in your body while you put can have the same consequences. You can practice this skill by standing on only your lead foot, and over time the strength built will help keep you steady.
Congratulations, you’ve now learned all of the steps needed to have a successful putt. Still, there are things you can do to improve your shot. Here are some commonly asked questions from everyday golfers like us.
How to line up a putt?
Lining up a putt requires you to consider distance and direction. Here are the simple steps for lining up your putts: DASPP (Distance, Aim, Stance, Practice Swing, Putt!)
- Assess the Putt Distance – Start by looking at the length of the putt and estimate the number of strokes it will take to reach the target.
- Visualize Your Aim Line – Next, focus on where you want the ball to go and imagine an “aim line” between your starting point and target. This will help you visualize your shot path when you address the ball.
- Set Your Stance – Once you have determined your aim line, adjust your stance accordingly so that it follows that same line when you take a practice swing. Make sure to keep your feet parallel to each other so that you maintain balance and accuracy during your stroke.
- Take Practice Swings – Before taking a full swing, it is important to make sure that all parts of your body (grip, arms, hips, etc.) are working together properly. Test out several shorter swings at different speeds until you feel comfortable with how everything is lined up and moving together correctly.
- Hit The Putt – Once everything feels right in your practice swings, commit to striking the ball with confidence knowing that all of your angles were properly set beforehand!
What is a lag putt?
A lag putt is a longer distance putt that requires golfers to judge the speed of their strokes in order to have the ball come close enough to the hole for an easy tap-in.
Here are the steps for how to hit a lag putt shot: (RSSPP or Read, Speed, Stance, Practice Swing, Putt!)
- Read The Green – Pay attention to the subtle breaks on the green and make sure you understand where they are leading your ball. Once you know what direction your ball will be going, you’ll be able to properly set up your stance and aim line.
- Calculate Power Requirements – Estimate how much speed it will take in order to reach your target. Keep in mind that if you don’t hit the ball hard enough, it can roll too far or not even make it past a sand trap or water hazard.
- Adjust Your Stance – Align yourself with your aim line and adjust your stance so that it matches that same line. Make sure both feet are pointing towards the target as this will help ensure accuracy during execution of your stroke.
- Take Practice Swings – Practice taking shorter strokes at different speeds until you find one that feels comfortable while still reaching your desired target spot on the green.
- Hit The Putt – When everything feels right, commit to striking the ball without hesitation knowing that all of angles were properly set beforehand!
Lag putt origin story
The lag putt was invented by legendary golf teacher Harvey Penick in the early 20th century. He developed the technique as a way to ensure more consistent speed and accuracy on long-distance putts. Since then, generations of players have adopted the Penick Lag Putt in their own game which has helped them reduce scores and lower their handicaps.
Who is the best lag putter?
Some of the best golfers in the world are known for their prowess with the lag putter, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Jordan Spieth. Each of these players has developed their own unique techniques to get the most out of this type of putt.
How to plumb bob a putt
Plumb bobbing a putt is a simple method used by golfers to help them accurately line up their putts. This method involves letting your arms hang naturally at your sides while looking down at the ground to assess the proper target line.
Here are the steps for how to plumb bob a putt: (DAsBP or Distance, Aim, Stance, Bob, Putt!)
- Assess The Putt Distance – Start by looking at the length of the putt and estimating the number of strokes it will take to reach the target.
- Visualize Your Aim Line – Next, focus on where you want the ball to go and visualize an “aim line” between your starting point and targeted area.
- Set Your Stance – Once you have determined your aim line, adjust your stance accordingly so that it follows that same line when you take a practice swing. Make sure both feet are pointing towards the target as this will help ensure accuracy during execution of your stroke.
- Plumb Bob The Putt – Take a few seconds standing still and let your arms hang freely in front of you with bent knees and look down towards the ground. As you observe, notice any breaks or slopes in relation to where you want your ball to go and make slight adjustments if necessary until it looks like everything is lined up properly from above.
- Hit The Putt – Once everything feels right in your practice swings, commit to striking the ball with confidence knowing that all of angles were properly set beforehand!
How to read a putt
All of these techniques and putting strategies won’t mean anything if you don’t know how to begin with reading a putt. Reading a putt is the process of analyzing all the details of a particular putt, such as elevation changes and breaks, in order to accurately predict where it should go
Here’s an efficient way I recommend:
- Look At The Terrain – Carefully analyze the slope and contours of the green in order to get an idea of how far your ball will be rolling and which direction it will go. Pay attention to subtle breaks on the green and make sure you understand where they are leading your ball.
- Read The Lie – Take into consideration what type of lie your ball has, as this can dramatically affect where it will go once it is hit. For example, if your ball is situated directly behind a bunker or hazard then it should require more power in order to reach its target.
- Visualize Your Aim Line – Once you’ve understood all elements of the terrain and lie, imagine an “aim line” between your starting point and intended destination for where you want the ball to go. This will help you determine which direction you need to adjust your stance prior to striking the shot.
- Take Practice Swings – Set up with your adjusted stance and take a few practice swings at different levels of power until you find one that feels comfortable while still reaching your desired target spot on the green.
- Hit The Putt – When everything feels right, trust in yourself that all angles were set properly before committing to striking the ball!
How to putt on fast greens vs slow greens
Putting on fast greens requires more precision and caution compared to slow greens. Here are the key differences when putting on fast and slow greens:
- Fast Greens – When putting on a fast green, a golfer should be even more mindful of reading the terrain as subtle bumps that go unnoticed can throw off the aim line significantly due to the speed of the ball.
Additionally, make sure to use less power when striking your putt since a faster rolling ball needs little extra acceleration in order to reach its target.
- Slow Greens – On a slow green, you may need to give your ball more power since it will roll at slower speeds (note it is important not to overshoot your target here!).
Also, pay attention to any breaks or elevation changes as these can alter where you need to aim your putt despite having plenty of time for it to eventually make its way there.
Reading playing partner putts
Reading a playing partner’s putt is generally considered poor etiquette and can lead to disagreements between players.
The rationale behind not reading another’s putts is that it creates an uneven playing field, as the partner who is being “read” does not have the same information on how to adjust their stance for their own shot.
In addition, helping out a fellow player in this way takes away from the challenge of the game. Golfers should strive to better themselves instead of relying on external help or advice while they are on the course.