The great Henry Cotton once said: “The three-foot putt is as important as the 300-yard drive.” That’s because mastering the art of short putts in golf will change your game forever. And whether you’re looking for the best putting tips for beginners, or something a bit more advanced, you’ll find all the tips and tricks you need right here.
How to Be a Better Putter
Wonder how pros get so good at putting? They start with the fundamentals. Here are some proven golf putting techniques to try, whether you’ve been playing for years or days, are an island pro or a weekend warrior.
Like most things in life, golf putting starts by setting yourself up for success:
- Your arms and hands stay still while the rocking of your shoulders dominates the movement.
- Your lower half remains still as well, but unlike with other strokes, your weight should be 50/50 between both feet.
- Place the ball just slightly forward of center and position your lead eye directly above it.
- Your backstroke should be the same length as your follow through, which will be longer or shorter depending on how far you need the ball to go.
- Keep the putter head square to the target as you make your stroke.
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With your set up nailed, here are some effective practice routines for consistent putting:
- If it’s good enough for Tiger… Try the golf legend’s trick of swapping the putter for a wedge, which smoothes out your stroke and helps you focus on the ball.
- Practice putting with one hand (you can do it!) which will give you a better feel for the putterhead release.
- For the clock putting drill, place 12 balls around the hole in 2-3 foot intervals. Starting with the 4 closest to the hole, work your way outward.
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Reading the Green
If you’re wondering how to read the green better when putting—I.E. studying it to see how your ball will likely move from your club to the hole—here’s three ways to do it.
- Start looking before you even arrive at the hole. If you notice any undulations or elevations on the way there, you can get an idea of what you’re approaching.
- Walk in a circular path directly behind your ball to feel if you’re uphill, downhill, or tilting a certain direction.
- Check the grain, or the direction the grass is growing, by looking at the hole. One side will look a bit more worn, meaning it’s the direction the grass is growing. Putts will be slower when rolling against the grain and faster when putting with the grain.
Also, even though it’s tricky, don’t second guess your read. While it may not be perfect every time, hesitation will come through in your stroke. So commit to your reading and go for it!
Putting Tips & Tricks
Now that you know some of our favorite golf putting drills to lower your scores and how to read the green right, let's take it to the next level with some bonus tips.
- Don’t peek at your putt until it’s well on its way. This will keep you in your putting stance longer, which will improve your overall short game.
- To avoid the common golf putting mistake of not positioning your eyes directly above the ball, do this test: set up as normal, hold another golf ball in front of your left eye, and let it drop. It should hit the ball on the ground.
- Instead of targeting the hole, target the back of the hole. This will increase your chances of sinking it vs. coming up short.
- To reduce body movement, which is critical to proper form, angle your knees inward. We’re not talking full pigeon toe here, just a little tilt to keep your body weight centered.
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