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Tagged "Putting"


The Secret to Becoming a Better Putter

Here it is… The secret you’ve been waiting for. The thing you need to do to really become a better putter is…

Improve Your Aim

Probably not what you were expecting. It’s not some adjustment you can make to your stroke or new system for better distance control. It may not be a huge secret but the key to becoming a better putter is becoming better at aiming. If you aim the putter face at the target consistently it becomes much easier to make the correct stroke and get the ball rolling online. If you aim left or right you have to make a manipulation in your stroke to get the ball back online. It all sounds simple but aiming the putter is difficult for 2 reasons: The first is that we stand to the side of the golf ball. This takes our eyes out of their normal point of view as we go through life looking straight ahead. If we could putt standing directly behind the golf ball (like bowling), it would be much easier to aim. To overcome this issue we must train our eyes to understand what correct aim looks like. The second reason is that the golf ball is round. A round object has no reference point as to what straight is. Aiming would be a lot easier if the golf ball were square (it may not roll very well through!). Again, to overcome this we must train our eyes to what is square. Despite the difficulty, there are some things you can do to make it easier. Here are 3 things to do to aim your putter better:

1. Check your ball position

This is a simple but often overlooked fundamental of putting. Because of the arc of the putting stroke ball position becomes important (if the putting stroke was perfectly straight ball position wouldn’t matter as much). If the golf ball is too far back in your stance you will tend to aim right and if it is too far forward you will tend to aim left. A good rule of thumb is to have the ball positioned under your left (forward) eye. This gets the ball slightly ahead of the center of your body. A good drill is to setup to a putt and hold a golf ball to your left eye. Drop the ball and see where it lands. If it hits directly on the ball on the ground your ball position is good. If it hits behind or in front, adjust your ball position to accordingly.

2. Check your distance from the ball

This fundamental of putting goes along with number 1. The distance you stand from the golf ball makes a big difference in how you aim. If you stand too close or too far away from the ball, your eyes are going to see a different line than they should. The rule of thumb is to have your eyes directly over the golf ball at address. If your eyes are inside the ball (standing too far away), you will tend to aim right. If your eyes are outside the ball (standing too close), you will tend to aim left. To work on this use the same drill as number 1 and drop a ball from your left eye when you’re setup. If the ball doesn’t hit directly on the ball on the ground you’re either too far away or too close.

3. Practice with a straight line

To become a more consistent aimer, you need to train your eyes. Because of the whole standing to the side of the ball, out eyes just don’t see square naturally. The best way to work on this is practicing with a straight line. The straight line gives you instant feedback on where your putter is aimed with any debate. Ways to practice with a straight line include taking a chalk line and snapping it on the green. Do this for a 3-4 foot putt straight putt and you will see exactly where you aim. Another way to practice with a straight line is to take string and wrap it around 2 pencils. Then stick it in the ground above the line of your putt and the string will give you the line you desire. Aim is not the sexiest thing you can practice but it is the most important for becoming a more consistent putter. Use these 3 tips and you’ll find yourself aiming at the hole more often.

Clay Hood is a PGA Golf Professional and Co-Founder/Marketing Director for Precision Pro Golf. Clay can be reached at clay@precisionprogolf.com.

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Shoot Lower Scores by Making More Putts

  So you’re driving your ball in the fairway, hitting greens, and playing solid golf, but your scores still aren’t where you want them. What gives? Maybe look at the 2 missed 4 footers, the 3 putt from 30 feet, and the fact that the longest putt you made all day was 6 feet. A few mishaps on the greens can easily be the difference between a great score and mediocre score. Regardless of how good you’re hitting the golf ball your game will never reach it’s potential without a solid putting stroke. The good news is that you can easily improve your putting with some slight technique changes and practice. The bad news is the putter seems to be the least popular club to practice with. If you are seeing that the putter is holding back your scores, here are 3 things you can do to have more success on the greens right away:

Improve Your Aim

  If you’re shooting a gun and you don’t aim at the target, you’re not going to hit it. The same can be said for the putter. If you aim right or left of target you have to make a stroke manipulation to get the ball back online. This will never be consistent over time. Aim is the most important key to good putting and a big problem many golfers have is trying to aim with their feet. The thing that is important with aim is the putter face. The feet and body are secondary and not nearly as important as we’ve seen plenty of great putters setup open or closed to the target. The key to achieving proper aim is to set the putter face first. Start by standing to the side of the ball with your feet together. Now set the putter face behind the golf ball and adjust it to where it’s properly aimed at your target. Once the putter face is aimed, then you can set your feet and body. This technique will make it much easier to aim the putter properly and will result in more putts rolling to the target.

Improve Your Stroke Balance

  Balance in the golf swing and balance in the putting stroke are two different things. Balance in the putting stroke has nothing to do with staying on your feet and everything to do with keeping the stoke a similar size on the backswing and follow through. This makes speed control much easier. Speed is important because it dictates the line on which the ball rolls and poor balance is the reason many golfers struggle with their speed. A lot of players make short backswings and over accelerate to a big follow through while others make big backswings and decelerate into a short follow through. Both of these make it difficult to correctly judge the speed of putts. A great way to control your speed is to make the putting stroke the same size on both sides. Take some practice strokes and feel the putter moving back and through at a nice smooth pace with good balance. Take 10-15 practice strokes until you get the feel then add the golf ball. The goal now is to make the same smooth, balanced putting stroke and let the ball get in the way. You’ll find it much easier to control your speed.

Release the Tension

  You may have seen the body builder type golfer who can hit it 320 yards off the tee but can’t roll a ball close to the hole from 12 feet. One problem this guy probably has is tension in his putting stroke. He grips it and rips it off the tee but that doesn’t work on the greens. Tension in the hands, elbows, and arms is a big killer in the putting stroke for many golfers. The hands and arms are what move the putter and if they are tense it becomes very difficult to have the putter move with good rhythm and tempo. When you setup to a putt, place your hands on the grip and feel a medium pressure. It shouldn't be so light that putter wobbles in your hands or so tense that the hand muscles are flexed. From there let the wrist, elbows, and arms relax. Feel as if they are hanging from your shoulders. This relaxed position makes it easy for the putting stroke to move freely and at a nice pace. This will result in better feel and a better roll. The next time you play golf or practice your putting put these 3 tips to work and you’re putting will start to catch up to the rest of your game.     Clay Hood is PGA Golf Professional and Co-Founder/Marketing Director for Precision Pro Golf. Clay can be reached at clay@precisionprogolf.com
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Ensure You Make More Putts with These 3 Putting Drills

  So you want to become a better putter? We all do! The problem is most golfers don’t really know how to improve their putting. They go the practice green and hit putt after putt without a plan, thought, or target and expect to get better. If this sounds familiar here are 3 great drills that will make a huge difference in your results on the greens. The difference in good putting and bad putting can be as simple as turning bad practice into good practice. Use these 3 drills to avoid wasting you practice time.

Chalk Line Drill 3 Footers

  The #1 key to making short putts is aim. If you can aim your putter face at the target you’ll have a really good chance of rolling the ball there. Otherwise you’ll have to manipulate the stroke to get the ball back online. The problem with aim is that most golfers don’t think about it and they never practice it (the most important aspect of short putting and people don’t practice it, go figure). To stand out from the crowd and never miss another 3 footer, use this drill that involves a simple chalk line. Pick up a chalk line from the hardware store (it only costs about $5). Find a flat, straight 3 foot putt and snap the line to create a line from the middle of the cup. Now place a ball on the line and use it to practice your aim. You’ll get immediate feedback on where your putter face is aimed (you may be shocked) and will also get immediate feedback on the roll of your golf ball as the ball must roll down the line to go in. The chalk line drill is the best drill you can do improve your putting so do it over and over to sharpen your aim.  

String Drill for 8 Footers

  As we move from 3 foot putts to 8 foot putts aim is still important but now we must add in speed and the ability to see the line. The key to making 8 foot putts is to get the ball started on a good line and give it a chance to go in. They won’t all go in as PGA Tour players only make about 50% but if you give it a chance, you’ll make your fair share. To do the string drill take some string and wrap it around 2 pencils or stakes leaving about 10 feet of string. Next put one pencil in the green behind the hole and the other 10 feet away on the other side of the hole. You now have the string suspended above the line of the putt. Roll putts down the string using it as a guide for the line. This drill is great because it gives you immediate feedback on your aim and the line of the putt. It also provides feedback on the path of your putter. When you hit putts the ball should roll down the string and into the hole.  

Look at the Hole Drill for Lag Putts

  Now we’re onto lag putts and the key to successful lag putting is rolling the ball the correct speed. Anyone who’s ever hit a 50 foot putt knows that this is easier said than done. The size and speed of the putting stroke are what controls how far the ball rolls on the green. Unfortunately too many golfers get caught up in making their stroke the exact perfect size on lag putts. This leads to over thinking and not having enough feel for the putt. Think to when you throw a baseball or football. You don’t think about how hard to throw it, you just feel it. This drill gets you into the mindset of feeling the putt. Setup to 30, 40, or 50 foot putt like normal then look at the hole like you normally would. Instead of looking back at the ball hit the putt with your eyes focused on the putt. It sounds strange but is really effective. You’ll find yourself not worrying about how big the stroke is and your thoughts will be on feeling the ball roll the correct distance. This method is very effective and you’ll be surprised at how good you become and hitting putts without looking.     So stop wasting your practice time and start becoming a better putter. Use these 3 drills the next time you practice and you’ll be on your way to better results on the greens.  

Clay Hood is a PGA Golf Professional and Co-Founder/Marketing Director for Precision Pro Golf. Clay can be reached at clay@precisionprogolf.com.

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