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The best players in golf are great putters. You might dismiss the importance of putting due to the simplicity and supposedly relative ease of it compared to distance play, but very often games are decided on putts, and the better putters often come out of a game as the winners.
How to Putt Properly in Golf
With all that being said, let us explore a few of the best tips, tricks and drills that will enable you to explore your game better and thus help you to become a better putter.
The Left Hand Shall Be Your Guide (For Right-Handers)
If you are right-handed, you will need to use the left hand as the guide for your swing. You’ll get this if you only use your right hand for stroking and will feel how the absence of your non-dominant hand affects your swing.
A way to work on this by practicing putts using your left hand only. This will help to develop the muscles on that hand that is involved during a normal put.
Another way is to tell your friend to hold the club before your hands while you hit on the club grip with the top of your left hand.
Of course, there is no need to mention that if you’re a leftie, do the prescribed with the right-hand i.e. your non-dominant hand.
Focus On Rolling The Ball
With putters, distance control is a key. You are making a shot at a short-range, so you must make sure not to over-hit it.
Start with a wide stance. Lean slightly and your forward leg, which would be your left leg if you are right-handed – the wide stance aids in making your forward hand move easier and smoother towards the target.
Leaning towards your front helps you to achieve a loft of 4 degrees on the putt, which is just the right amount you need as suggested by the experts.
After the club makes contact with the ball, the club should stay low and close to the ground even after impact. There will be a slight ascension of the club but not too much. Otherwise, the impact might be a much heavily hit and lofted shot.
Put Your Fingers To Work
It doesn’t matter how you hold the golf club so long as the essentials are maintained. Both hands play crucial roles in a golf grip, and any grip that diminishes the role of the left hand (if you are right-handed) cannot be considered a proper golf grip.
For maintaining maximum control over the clubface, it is necessary to support the club with the palm of your non-dominant hand. The fingers must touch the grip, and you must learn to “feel” the club with your fingers and not the palms.
Don’t Focus Too Much On The Ball
Staring too long at the ball can make you nervous and make your brain go haywire. A good way to approach is to ignore the ball entirely; don’t look at it. Instead, pick a target a few inches away from the ball and focus on the getting the ball to that target.
What this would help to do is that it would wire your brain to focus on the target lines instead of strokes. It doesn’t matter how you do it as long as you manage to get the ball rolling towards the target on the target line.
You can do mini-tees during your practice sessions by putting tees inches away from the ball.
Test Your Eyes
When it comes to a putting shot, what many of us mistakenly do is that we give more priority to getting the angle right than focusing on the distance. Golfers very often underestimate the difficulty of getting the right amount of distance to the shot.
Ask someone who specializes in the area of sport-vision, who knows and understands better than anyone the role of proper eyesight in a sport such as golf. They will tell you that a lot of golfers suffer from depth-deficiency.
Someone who suffers from depth deficiency will look at a hole and underestimate its’ distance, assuming it closer than it is.
There are real cases of golfers having a perceptual error of 25 percent. Meaning that they will look at a hole that’s situated 30 feet away but their eyes will tell their brain that the distance is 24 feet. Those 6 feet will be the difference between night and day.
A sports doctor who specializes specifically in golf will initially try to work on this issue. Otherwise, this will later cause you a whole lot of problems.
Evaluating Your Outcomes
Most people who take the depth-perception test face the same results. They find themselves missing the target by a few feet. They point towards the ground or green, several feet short of the point of target. This relays inaccurate information to their brains resulting in a cutting action that falls short of the required distance.
What you’re shooting towards is a false image implanted in your brain like a mirage in a desert.
Now, this is a straightforward issue that can be dealt with very quickly. It is capable of ruining your score by a significant margin, which makes it serious enough to be worth due consideration, but you can easily remedy it by just going through the following steps;
To get a read on the distance of the putt, we commonly use the long and straight view from behind the golf ball to make our judgment. But this gives you an inaccurate idea of the real distance.
To get a better understanding, you need to look at it from a different angle, and the best way to do that would be to look at the hole from the side.
Think of a basketball game and the different views you get from different sides of the court. Which seating area gives you the best view, behind either of the rings or on the sides?
Similarly, get a visual of the putting hole from the side and even from behind the hole before coming back to your station and make an overall calculation from there.
To calculate the speed and placement required for making the putt, you normally scan the path from the ball to the hole before making your shot. But here’s another thing you can do that can help to give your brain a good understanding of how to make your shot.
Take the golf club and walk from the putting position towards the hole on the exact line you expect the ball to travel. Maintain the same walking speed as you expect the ball to move at when you make your shot.
This may seem a bit outlandish but it works and is effective at giving your brain the right idea of how much power, angle and placement must be there during the putt.
Evaluate The Putt From The Lower Side
From the lower side, the view is better and more favorable to help you get a good read on the green.
Now the issue of whether you should read the putt from behind the ball or the hole is a controversial one, with golf experts each having their thoughts on this topic. But if you want a simple answer, which works for the most people, just pick the lower side.
This means that if the putt is uphill, make the read from the ball’s perspective, and do the reverse if the putt is downhill. Simple as that.
Now how does this help? Why the lower side? Well, the benefit of this is best understood when you squat down to get a good look at the hole. Your line of sight as you peer at the hole makes a 90 degree or close to a 90 degree with the slope.
On the other hand, the angle is close to a 0 or 180 degree when you make your reading from uphill. So how does an angle close to 90-degree help?
To better understand this, get yourself a book, a magazine or something to read (even your phone would do).
Notice the angle of the object is making with your line of sight. Now tilt the object in different directions to see which angles make the text on the object more readable.
You’ll find that whenever the reading object is close to making 90 degrees with your sight line, the text becomes more readable while setting the angle further away from 90 degrees. It makes the text more blurry and unreadable as well.
It’s the same with putts. When reading from the lower side, you get a view closer to 90 degrees which enables you to get a better grip on the distance.
Use a Clock Visual to Read a Putt
Top putters are so good at reading the green. They know how a putt will end up in the hole the moment they take the first look. They can visualize precisely the path the ball takes as it moves from the point of impact towards the hole and into it.
It’s a matter of instinct that is built into their systems after years and years of hard practice and plays. It seems magical how they do it so naturally as if they are a sorcerer of the greens.
A mental drill you can employ to help you read the green better by setting up an imaginary clock around the hole. You will see the clock with its 6 o’clock pointer aimed towards you.
Now keep staring at that imaginary clock and think about which exact point of the clock you want the ball to roll into. If you want the ball to enter the hole from the left, focus on the 8 o’clock pointer, or if you want it to roll into the right side, focus on the 4 o’clock pointer.
It’s like in football where a quarterback sends the ball flying towards the receiver. He can’t just throw it straight towards the receiver as he is running at full speed forward. He has to set his throw to match the speed and direction of the receiver’s run so that his teammate can catch it with ease while running.
Survey The Sides
You incline to filter the putt from the ball to the opening and back once more or vertically. That is a decent method to decide whether the putt is moving tough or downhill, yet it doesn’t enable you to perceive how much side-to-side tilt you face.
You’ll gather more data by checking the putt on a level plane. Influencing a side-to-side evaluation in your green-perusing routine will make them judge break like a cagey professional. Here’s the ticket:
From behind the gap, analyze the last three feet of the putt.
In your imagination, picture two coins on the green. One on each side of a nonexistent line running from the ball to the container. Make the coins around four feet separated.
On the off chance that you haven’t effectively hunched down, run your eyes on a level plane between the coins. In the occasion of the green tilts, you’ll promptly see that one coin is lower than the other giving you a reasonable thought of the course and seriousness of the slant.
Stroll behind the ball, and rehash your flat output from coin to coin for the principal half of the putt. You currently have a total picture of incline. For the best outcomes, drop real coins on the green when you practice. Sooner or later, peruses will be outright cash.
Exclusive Putting Tips from Aaron Baddeley
For further putting advice, we have included here some putting tips from Aaron Baddeley; one of the world’s best putters.
Choose A Point Behind The Hole
For this one, Baddeley suggests to focus on an object lying behind the hole and then use a trigger to start on your stroke.
For him, the trigger is to make 3 practice strokes in his pre-shot routine while keeping his eyes entirely focused on the target, and then to switch vision towards the ball.
Once his eyes land on the ball, he moves the club backward before proceeding to complete his putt stroke.
It’s one of the most important fundamentals of putting and golf swings in general.
If you want the ball to travel in a specific direction, you need to get the clubface position and direction right. The clubface must be facing straight towards the target not an inch left or right.
The mistakes commonly made by beginners can be readily fixed if they just get their clubface alignment right along with maintaining a balanced stance at address.
If your clubface is facing right when you are aiming left, the ball will go left of your intended target. So keeping the clubface pointing straight towards the target is one of the most vital essentials that you need to maintain.
Don’t Fret Too Much On The Putt
As important as putts are for your overall score, you must learn to relax when putting. Aaron Baddeley advises to care a little less, which he believes to be harder than many seem to think. He approaches every putt like it almost doesn’t matter. “It’s just another putt,” he says.
In his opinion, a little less seriousness gives you more freedom and allows you to approach a putt with a level head.
Focus On The Final Few Feet
This is how he makes his reads. He only considers how the ball would travel in the final few feet and leaves the rest to his brain to figure out. He doesn’t focus on the minor details of the putt, but rather just the end goal, which is to make sure the ball reaches the putt.
Get The Adjustments Done Beforehand
With a full swing, where there are more distances and lofts involved, you will get a lot of time to sort out how you would make your stroke.
The same cannot be said of putts, where the shorter distance results in much less time for adjustments. Because of that, make all your adjustments beforehand. Everything must be set-up properly and the clubface must be adjusted to be facing towards the point of aim.
Improve Speed And Distance With This Drill
This drill will help you to get a better grasp of the speed and distance involved in each putt.
For this drill, you’ll need to take a bunch of balls and place 2-3 feet apart from each other. Place the first one at 10 feet (or less if you’re struggling) from the hole and the others at 12, 14, 16, 18 etc. Put the furthest at 50 feet or more if you’re confident enough.
Putt each of the balls in quick succession until you get to the one placed furthest from the hole.
Our Final Thoughts
There’s no reason why you cannot become a great golfer and putter. The drills and tips provided should help you to become better and more consistent on the greens, and with a little bit of persistent practice, you too can become an expert putter on par with the best.