Golf tips: Perfect Putting

Watch the great putters. They all have differences in style, but there are certain key traits they share. Learning these traits and integrating them into your game through practice will give you a head start toward developing your own successful putting stroke.

The best place to watch good putters is in their natural habitat: on the practice green. Notice how they view the green from different angles to judge break and grain. Observe how they set up to putt the same way each time. This is all part of their standard pre-putt routine.

To know the common traits of good putters. Good putters share the following traits:

  • Confidence (from repeated success through practice)
  • Eyes over the ball
  • A light grip, firm wrists and relaxed arms
  • Head still and down
  • A low and slow takeaway
  • An accelerating stroke
  • Control distance by the length of their stroke
  • Mostly an arm and shoulder movement
  • Shoulders square to the target
  • Putter blade square and vertical to the ball
  • Focus on an intermediate target spot
  • Long follow-through toward the hole

To know the variables of a good putting stroke. Some golfers use a popping stroke when putting as opposed to a smooth steady one. Some use a "wristy" stroke. You can be a "hard charger" type putter, or a "die it in the hole" type. (Recent research has shown the optimum speed for putting would roll the ball by the hole 12-18 inches.) The stance may be open, closed, or square but eyes are always over the ball and the shoulders are square to the target. The stance may be upright or crouched. Balance is whatever keeps the head and body still. Your grip is a simple matter of taste, feel, comfort, and success.

Do and Don'ts
It is not enough only to know what good putters do, you must practice until these skills become part of your game.