Reading the Green
The break of the green and the grain of the grass is one of the most important things to consider, since the slope of the green and the direction the game grows can affect the roll of the ball.
From 3 feet behind the ball, crouch down and look toward the hole. This will give you a general idea of the left/right slope and the direction the ball will break. Walk around to the backside of the hole and look at the same line. One tip to check the grain of the grass, look to see if the grass looks shiny or dull. If it’s shiny, the grain grows with you and the ball will roll faster, if it’s dull, it’s growing against you, which will slow down the putt. Sometimes, the grain will appear to grow across the grain of your line. In this case, be careful; it could case your ball to drift slightly toward the direction of the grain as it slows.
A great drill for reading greens is to place a ball three feet from the hole. Try to sink the put using the tips above. When you make the putt, move the ball back 3 more feet and try to hit the ball so it continues the line of your first putt. Continue to move the ball back 3 feet each time until you’ve reached 20-30 feet.
Stance and Position
One of the best tips on putting is that, if your putting stroke and stance feel natural and are working for you regularly, don’t try to alter them too much. If you’re just a beginner or if you think that your stance and position could use a little help, here’s a great post from Free Golf Lessons to help you perfect your setup.
To practice lining up your body for a shot, stand sideways in front of a full-length mirror and take your putting stance. If you’re perfectly aligned, you won’t be able to see any portion of the side of your body opposite the mirror.
Speed is arguably the most important aspect to master in putting. If you miss a putt, you always want to leave yourself no more than three feet from the hole.
To improve your ability to judge distance, try this drill: Starting at 10 feet from the pin, place balls at 10-foot intervals away from the pin. You should have a ball at 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 feet. Now, start at the 10 foot mark and putt the ball to the hole. If you don’t sink the putt, make sure the ball is within 3 feet. Next, hit the 50 foot putt, attempting the same result as the 10 foot putt. Then make the other putts in random order. You always want no more than three feet between the ball and the cup. The better your control over distance, the fewer three putts.
These tips on putting can take you out of the land of three putts and knock a few strokes off your score.
Do you have tips on putting? Share them with us in the comment section. We’d love to hear them!