Mastering the art of putting is just as critical to your game as a powerful, well-placed drive. It takes more than just a gentle tap for the ball to roll into the hole. Putting involves everything from the placement of your hands to the angle of your body, to the looseness of your muscles. Become a putting machine with these tips from Mike Poe, general manager at Quintero Golf Club.
Set your mind. Golf is as much mental as it is physical. Instead of staring at the ball, look at a spot in front of the ball. This helps to get your brain thinking more about the target line and less about the stroke itself. Visualize the target line in your mind, feel the pace and see the ball roll into the hole.
Get a grip. Your hold on the club is a crucial key to sinking putts. You want to be able to have control while keeping a level of smoothness. There are a variety of different grips – the most important tip is to choose one that feels the most natural and comfortable to you.
Read the green. Start to read the grain, slope and elevation as you walk up from the fairway. The distance gives a good general reading and helps show the predominate way the ball will break. The break point is where the ball will start its final turn towards the hole. This is the point where you should putt towards.
Too many putts can be missed because your weight is off. When putting, compensate for your body’s natural inclination to lean on a slope. Your body should “feel inward,” meaning your knees and elbows are pulled toward your body’s center. This keeps your weight centered and body completely motionless during the stroke.
Roll, don’t hit. The key to distance control is to roll the ball, not to hit it. In order to achieve this, take a shoulder width stance with your weight slightly more on the target side and putter shaft slightly leaning toward the target. Having this stable position makes it easier to feel the lead arm following the target line. Finally, be sure to keep the backstroke and follow through equal in length.