Putting is often the one aspect of an amateur’s golf game which is overlooked the most. It’s much easier to drive to the nearest driving range and start practicing with your irons and driver, as highlighted in our previous article.
A good driving range session can be great for your general game, however, if you stop and think about which club you use the most during a round of golf, it’s usually the putter.
Roughly 40% of the shots you make during an 18-hole round of golf will be with the putter. So, you need to practice as much as you can with your putter, if you want to have any chance of improving your score on the golf course.
Putting grip, stance and alignment are all aspects of putting which you may need to tweak as you progress and we will deal with each in separate posts as they need more explanation. However, for the purposes of this article, we are going to look at simple ways to improve your putting as a beginner.
Firstly, you need to understand the green. It’s no good having all the technical aspects of your putting stroke in place, if you do not understand the putting surface. You must examine the condition of the green before making a putt. Is the grass a very light shade, in which case has it has been cut away from you and will make the putt faster? Has there been a lot of rain recently which could make the green slower? Take a few seconds upon arrival to the green, to think about these things and you could save yourself a shot.
Do not grip the putter grip too hard. Many amateur players grip the club too hard and dictate the swing of the putt. Your grip should be light, with both hands weighted equally and allow the putter to gain its own momentum as it swings along its path.
Top help with this, imagine your arms as a pendulum, with the movement beginning from your shoulders. There should be no movement coming from your legs. You can practice this by tucking an alignment stick under both arms and keeping it in position when making a putt.
Do not lean back, away from the golf ball and have your weight on your heels. If you tend to rock back on your heels when playing a putt, you will lose control of the shot and may even hit the top of the golf ball, causing it to roll a very short distance. A best-case scenario would see your ball travel in the direction of your weight distribution, rather than your initial alignment.
Instead, concentrate on putting your weight evenly on the balls of your feet. This will keep your body in a nice position, over the golf ball and allow your putting to come through in a nice, flowing pendulum motion. Do not put your weight on your toes, as this will have the same impact as having it on your heels.
These tips will help you make better putts but nothing beats practice. The great thing about putting is you can practice on the floor at home and work, so there really is no excuse not to do it.