Putting strokes are like golf swings in as much as no two are the same so the key is to find out what works best for you. Your putter is the most used but least practiced club in your bag and I regularly help club golfers save between 6-10 shots per round by making sure they take no more than two putts per green and make their share of single putts so here are a few tips to help you do the same.
KEYS PUTTING TIPS
Take dead aim as a miss aligned putter face will mean you have to compensate during your stroke. To help, look at the line you want to start you putt on and select an intermediate target such as a blemish on the green or blade of grass that is much closer to your ball. This works on the same principle that you would be a lot more accurate holing an 18-inch putts than 20 footers so why not bring your target nearer to you. If you can’t find a good intermediate target, select a spot just off your line and aim left or right of it to get more of your putts on the right track.
Hold the putter in a way that allows you return the putter face squarely to your target and maximises your feel as direction and distance are key to good putting. For longer putts a little wrist action may be required especially on slower surfaces during the winter.
Ensure your eyes are positioned over the ball or slightly inside and that your eyes and shoulders are parallel to the line of your putt. Control your stroke so that your shoulders, hands and arms act as one unit keeping your hands and wrists passive during your stroke.
Keep your eyes and head still throughout the stroke as moving these will cause excessive body movement and inconsistencies. Make sure your stroke is slightly longer through than when you draw the putter back whilst maintaining a consistent tempo to help distance control.
Off centre strikes also cause poor distance control so groove a stroke that ensures you strike the ball in the middle of your putter face both horizontally and vertically. The gate drill Tiger uses will help but I have had the best results with the blue tack drill as you must strike dead centre.
Tell yourself to hole your putt rather than telling yourself not to miss long, short, left or right. Your mind controls your body and when you instruct yourself not to do something, you must think of the very thing you are trying to avoid and that is left uppermost in your mind.
TRAINING DRILLS FOR SKILL DEVELOPMENT
Making putts from close range builds confidence so aim to hole out 100 putts without missing.
Striking putts from sweet spot is a key element to controlling the direction and distance of your putts consistently. To test out whether you are striking putts from the centre of your putter face, place blue tack either side of the sweet spot allowing enough room to strike the ball from the middle of your putter face.
To start, learn how to consistently strike several putts the same distance to create consistent benchmarks over 10ft, 20ft and 30ft. Only look after you have struck your last putt and taken stock of how you think you have done; this will heighten your awareness and feel.
Aim to strike long putts with a dead weight as this allows the ball to drop from both sides of the cup and will make any misses stay closer to the hole. Strike shorter putts a little firmer to take any break out of the putt but be sure to take dead aim to hit the back of the cup.