Author Peter Dobereiner once wrote, “Half of golf is fun; the other half is putting“. It sounds like Peter needed some putting tips.
We love this quote for two reasons. First, it highlights how frustrating putting can be – you can play a perfect hole and throw it all away with bad putting.
Second, Peter highlights something that many golfers overlook. In an 18-hole round of golf, your number of putts will be 40%-50% of your total score.
Below we share our favorite 7 putting tips to turn your “flat stick” into a weapon!
Why Is Putting Important?
Before we list our putting tips, let’s briefly discuss why putting may be the most important part of your golf game.
As we mentioned above, putts make up a large percentage of your score, but there is more to it.
A great putter will always have an advantage over a great ball striker. Scratch golfers have far more 1-putts than 3-putts.
The ability to save par with your putter keeps the momentum of your round going. It is far more important than a 300-yard drive down the middle. Putting well gives you time to find your swing.
Don’t let your score get away from you – use these putting tips to improve your stroke and start playing better golf.
7 Putting Tips To Improve Your Stroke
#1: Use Your Large Muscles
The perfect putting stroke is a pendulum motion. You simply rock your shoulders (large muscles) to roll the golf ball.
A common mistake is being too “handsy” with your stroke and letting your wrist break. This is the number one reason golfers develop the yips.
It is very difficult to make a consistent putting stroke using your wrist and hands. It is even harder when you are under pressure.
Practice rolling putts with firm wrists. Don’t try to hit the ball, but simply make a stroke. Just let the golf ball get in the way of your stroke.
Remove your hands and wrists from your putting stroke and your speed control will quickly improve. You will more consistently hit your line and make more putts!
#2: Practice Putts Looking At The Hole
This one is more of a drill than a putting tip. As we mentioned above, you don’t want to hit a putt, you want your ball to get in the way of your stroke.
Start with short putts and then move out to medium-length (less than 20 feet). Look at the hole while you try to make the putt.
Sounds crazy? PGA Tour professional Jordan Spieth will do this on the course during tournaments from time to time – if a 3-time major champion uses this method when playing for millions of dollars, you can add it to your practice routine!
Flinching at impact is one of the reasons you miss short putts – by looking at the hole you eliminate this from your game.
Thinking about the putting tips on our list, this is the one that will best help you develop a smooth, flowing stroke.
To put it simply, try looking at the target when you putt!
#3: Keep Your Head and Body Stable
If you forgot all other putting tips, we hope you remember this one. To quote the Eagles “Learn to Be Still”.
You want your body and head to be stable and simply rock your shoulders to stroke the golf ball.
Common mistakes include sliding with your body and looking up to watch your putt before completing your stroke.
Are you looking for a role model? Tiger Woods stays amazingly still when he putts. No wonder he is the best pressure putter in golf history.
Unnecessary moving while putting can prevent you from hitting solidly, causing you to push and pull putts. There are a couple of signs that you didn’t hit your putt solidly:
First, it may bounce instead of rolling along the ground. Second, the putt will come up short. It is very difficult to get the speed correct if you aren’t hitting the ball in the middle of your putter.
Stay still and hit solid putts every time.
#4: Practice Reading Greens
The art of reading greens is often left off lists of putting tips, but it is just as critical as making a high-quality stroke.
To make a putt you need two things to correct. Speed and line.
It comes down to discipline. When you are on the practice green do you take the time to read the putt or do you just smack it?
Try the approach below to improve your green reading:
- Bring 5 balls to the putting green and pick a 20-25 foot putt
- Take 2 minutes to read the putt – think about both the break and the slope
- Hit your first ball and assess the results
- Did you read it correctly? If not, what did you miss in your read?
- Hit your second ball and assess the results
- Continue with all 5 balls and then move to another putt
You will notice a pattern in your green reading mistakes. Do you underestimate the slope near the hole?
No golfers read every putt correctly, but it is a skill you can hone. Improved green reading will improve your putting.
#5: Hands Forward – Forward Press
No list of putting tips would be complete without discussing your hand position at setup and impact.
You can use your phone camera to record your putting stroke. Pay close attention to your hands throughout your stroke.
Hall of Famer Phil Mickelson is known for his forward press. When he gives putting tips to his amateur partners in Pro-Ams he always discusses pushing your hands forward.
You always want your ball to roll on the ground – in putting, hops and bounces mean something went wrong.
If your hands are back at impact you are adding loft to the putter. More loft means the ball will get airborne.
Keep your hands forward and keep your balling rolling on the green.
#6: Trust Your Stroke
You can follow all of the putting tips in the world, but if you don’t have confidence in your stroke you won’t make putts.
Golf is a mental game and putting is the most mental part. A confident putter is a good putter.
When you stand over an important putt on the 18th green, what thoughts go through your mind?
Do you believe you are going to make it? Or are you worried about yipping the putt?
Be confident. Visualize the ball going in the hole. Don’t take your stroke until you have eliminated negative thoughts.
Take a deep breath and roll the rock. Golf is hard enough without bringing negativity to the game.
#7: Try An Alternative Style of Putting
Spent time on the practice green but none of these putting tips working? Try a different putting style.
Unlike other parts of the game, there is no wrong way to putt. If the conventional style just isn’t working for you, try something different.
To use “cross-handed”, simply switch your hands. If you are a right-handed player, your left hand should now be below the right.
Cross-handed can help you stabilize your wrist and improve the consistency of your stroke if other putting tips are not working.
To try “the claw”, grip the putter normally with your left hand, but simply rest your right hand on the putter. This putting style will remove your right hand from the stroke.
Webb Simpson and Sergio Garcia both use “the claw”.
Finally, if you want to try something drastically different, go with “armlock” putting. This will require you to buy a new putter.
An armlock putter is longer than a standard putter (42″ vs. 35″) and is designed to rest against your left arm when you putt (right-handed player).
If you want to see an armlock putter in action, check out Matt Kuchar.
This style of putting prevents your wrist from breaking, but it will feel awkward at first. Some golfers love it, while others can’t make it work.
#8: Try Using Putting Aids
Finally, to improve your score, try using some golf putting aids. There are hundreds of types out there, each designed to target specific putting issues and to turn your weaknesses into strengths.
Read our full guide on putting aids here.
To summarize this putting tip, be creative. Experiment and develop a way to consistently roll the golf ball and you will make more putts.
Golf is more fun when putts are going in!
How Else Can You Save Strokes?
Our list of putting tips is going to help you improve on the greens, but where else can you save strokes? Lower your scores with better Course Management.