PUTTING TIPS

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Author: Keri Schmit

Helpful tips that can improve your game…

What is putting in golf?

Putting is a golf stroke used with a club called a putter when you are on or just off the green. … A wedge such as the pitching wedge is used to hit the ball on the green in a favorable position to get the ball into the hole in one or two strokes with the putter.

According to a Golf Magazine sponsored study, Americans are massively misjudging the slope and under-reading putts by a whopping 65 percent, on average. That’s a lot!

As the season comes to an end, now would be a good time to raise your reading level and save on strokes.

Basics of Putting

Putting is the easiest part of the game to practice. We all should be good putters. Practicing can be at home on the carpet, at the office between telephone calls, after school during study breaks and, of course, on the putting green. Here are the three best ways to practice:

1. You must know your grip.

Place your hands on the club with your palms facing each other. Allow the “lifeline” of your left hand to fit on the putter grip near the top of the handle. With the putter grip in the lifeline, this will help eliminate excess wrist movement. The back of the left hand and the palm of the right should face the target with your thumbs flat on top of the rubber grip. With the thumbs on top and the index finger under the shaft, you are able to gain touch. The more you practice this grip, the more touch you will have for your putts.

2. The fundamentals of putting.

Make sure your grip is perfect. Aim your club face at your target and sole the putter head directly behind the ball. Position your eyes over the ball and down the target line. Set your shoulders, hips, knees and feet all parallel to the target line. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders and you should have a slight bend in your elbows. Ball position will be 2 inches inside your left heel and you should lean left with your weight. About 75 percent of your weight should be on your left heel. Your forearms must be parallel to each other, maintaining the same place throughout the stroke. As the putter starts away from the ball, the left shoulder will work down and the right will work up so that your shoulders control the stroke. Keep your head still while maintaining the angle in your right wrist throughout the stroke.

3. Strategic planning of the putt

“Plan your work, work your plan.” Success or failure of every putt stems from preparation. When on the green, you must take time to read the putt. Reading or studying the putt will provide the logical information that will allow you to make a good putt. Determine if the putt is uphill or downhill, the amout of break (right or left turn), and how much speed you will need to be successful. The gathering of this information comes mainly from experience, which is gained by on-course situations, the practice putting green, and even on the carpet at home. The time spent reading the putt is the most important. Make your decision on how you are going to hit your putt, commit to it, and learn from it.

PGA Tour star and World’s Best Green-Reader, Adam Scott

PGA Tour star Adam Scott has cracked the code, becoming the world’s best green-reader, so start by trying the 11-time Tour winner’s groundbreaking method.

ADAM SCOTT’S 3 STEP METHOD

10 Truths About Putting

Putting is important.

Most importantly, regardless of skill level, putting accounts for approximately 43 percent of your total strokes. However by lowering this percentage, your scores will go down. Allocate at least one-third of your practice time to becoming the best putter you can be.

Aim is critical.

You can’t dominate with your putter if you don’t know how to aim it correctly, or how much break to play. Nail these fundamentals first.

Keep your stroke “on-line” through the impact zone.

  • Your chance of successfully keeping your stroke “on-line” will go down if you hook or cut-spin your putts.
  • If your putts roll off the face in the same direction your putter is heading immediately after impact, that’s good.
  • You’ll have problems if your putter moves one way and the ball another.

Face angle is even more important than stroke path.

And not insignificantly — it’s six times more important. Even if your path is good, unduly opening or closing the face at impact spells doom.

You’re only as skilled as your impact pattern.

Catching putts across the face produces varying ball speeds. Find one impact point. Recommendation: the sweet spot.

Putts left short never go in.

When you miss, your putts should end up 17 inches past the hole. If you roll them faster, you’ll suffer more lip-outs. Roll them slower and the ball will be knocked off line by imperfections (footprints, pitch marks, etc.) in the green.

Proper putt speed comes from proper rhythm.

Many instructors and schools incorporate rhythm into pre-putt rituals, and then carry that same rhythm through the stroke. Rhythm is the harbinger of consistency. You’ve got to find your own, and groove it.

Putting is a learned skill.

Having the “touch” in your mind’s eye to know how firmly to stroke a putt (so its speed matches the break) and certainly having the “feel” in your body to execute that touch is gained only through experience and practice.

Be patient.

Sometimes poorly-struck putts go in and well-struck putts miss. Sometimes badly-read greens compensate for poorly struck putts. Results can confuse golfers when they don’t understand the true fundamentals of putting. Having the patience to learn to be a good putter is an incredible virtue for a golfer.

Putting is like life.

You don’t have to be perfect, but you can’t do any of the important things badly. Believe in yourself. Becoming a great putter isn’t easy, but it’s possible (Phil Mickelson, at age 48, is enjoying the finest putting season in his career). Maintain a good, hardworking attitude as you work through items 1 through 9. Everyone is capable of improving.