Even if you’re a total beginner to golf, the chances are you’ve played a round of mini or crazy golf, or at least have some idea of how to putt once necessary.
But just because you have an idea of how to putt, or you’ve seen the pros on the green, that doesn’t mean that you’re going to know what to do once you make your way to the green.
During your practice, you’ll learn different techniques and get more of a feel for the game, but it’s important to make sure you the fundamentals down before you start with the flashy stuff.
So, let’s go into the basics so that you not only know how to putt, but how to putt consistently!
Let’s get started!
How to putt – the basics
Before we even get into the various things you must do to putt successfully, let’s just quickly cover the most obvious aspects of putting.
Firstly, use a putter!
It might be impressive to make a putt with a driver or a 7-iron, but there’s not a lot of point in it.
If you’re a total beginner, try out the different styles of putter available and see what works for you, but most importantly for beginners it’s recommended that you use a putter with a line that cuts through the center of the putter head.
This will help you line up your putts and help you hit the ball with the right part of the club face.
Secondly, make sure that putter fits you!
It’s baffling how many golfers are playing with clubs that don’t fit them properly.
Making sure that your clubs are properly sized can do wonders for your game. You might find that playing with properly sized clubs helps your finally stop topping the ball or hitting fat shot!
The same goes for putting, the putting motion is smooth and effortless. This won’t be the case if you’re playing with a putter that is either too long or too short for you.
Now we’ve covered the obvious, let’s get into the more technical side of how to putt!
There are a number of different putting grips you can play around with and see what works best for you, but if you’re a total beginner, this is the grip we would recommend starting out with.
- Hold your putter with your non-dominant hand (left hand for right-handers, and vice versa)
- Grip the club so that your thumb is pointing down the shaft.
- Now grip the club with your free hand with your thumb pointing in the same direction, it can help to tuck the thumb of your non-dominant hand under your other hand, just enough to cover your fingernail.
This is the most conventional putting grip that is taught to most golfers and, for a beginner, this will help you start your putt with a strong foundation.
Grip strength is also something important to consider when putting.
Tiger Woods has spoken about how he used to grip his putter too hard, and how loosening that grip helped him make more precise putts, due the better feeling of the movement of the club he was able to achieve.
Your putting stance will likely be unique to you. No two stances are exactly the same, however there are some fundamentals to good putting stance that you must consider.
Firstly, you want to keep your legs pretty much straight, in comparison to your driver stance for example.
You still want some flexion in your knees, but nowhere near a crouch.
And you want your feet positioned in a narrower stance than your regular swing, with your feet at around a hip width apart.
You also want to splay your feet slightly outwards, so that both are facing slightly away from the ball.
This narrower foot position will give you more control throughout your swing, which is essential for the precise shots you’ll end up making on the green!
You also want to maintain a straight spine angle throughout your swing. This will ensure the consistency of your swing and help keep it smooth throughout.
Here’s a good tip to help you get your spine in position:
- Step up to the ball using your club. Just set the clubhead behind the ball, align your eyes over the ball, and step back so that you’re the right distance away.
- You’ll know that you’re the right distance from the ball when you have all three in place, your head, your back, and your (almost) straight legs.
This position will take some getting used to, since it feels very different to your normal golf stance that you would use with your irons.
Just bear in mind that the purpose of this position is preciseness and control. You are making sure that you are in the right position to precisely control your swing.
Shoulders and Arms
Putting is all in the shoulders.
Since you’re not making a full rotation or pulling your club into the air, as with a shot with an iron or wood, you need to completely alter the way you swing.
Rather than twisting or coiling in your swing, you’re looking to create more of a pendulum motion.
Once you’ve stepped up to the ball and you’re ready to make your putt, you want to rock your shoulders back, and then forwards the same distance you pulled your club back.
You want to feel that your arms are connected to your torso throughout your swing. If you struggle with this, try keeping a glove underneath your armpit while you make putts.
If it falls out, you’re doing something wrong!
A putting stroke is also done with arms that are slightly bent. This helps with the straight and smooth motion of the putt.
If your clubs aren’t completely accurately sized, you can try a quick technique to place your hands correctly on the shaft:
- Let your arms hang down while gripping the club as you normally would. Now bend your arms slightly.
- If your clubhead is still resting on the ground, shift your grip further down the shaft.
- If your clubhead is high off the ground, anything over half an inch, take a small step forward.
Now, back to the swing!
It can help to think about it like a clock face:
- Imagine the ball is placed at 12 o’clock on a clock face.
- You have worked out, by reading the green, that you need to make a long putt and need more momentum the carry the ball further.
- Pull your club back so that it is in line with 3 o’clock, and swing through the ball until your club is in line with 9 o’clock.
This may help you if you struggle with keeping your putt pendulum-like.
A big part of learning how to putt is learning how to keep a smooth, straight and consistent swing.
This, like everything in golf, will take practice – lots of it.
But practice isn’t the only thing you need to have down before you make a putt.
Stop trying to sink it
If you’re a total beginner, or even just an amateur golfer, the chances are you’re not going to be hitting amazing long distance putts, and the green is where you’ll likely pick up the most strokes.
If that sounds like you, it could be because you’re either overestimating yourself, or just expecting too much from yourself.
Learning how to putt is also about learning where to putt.
You should be aiming to get as close as possible to the hole, not directly in it.
This will hopefully save you from putting too much power in your putts, missing the hole, and ending up back on the apron.
If you can just aim to get within 2ft of the hole, then you’ll likely be saving yourself strokes in the long run, and you’ll have an easier second putt to make.
So, that’s our guide on how to putt for absolute beginners!
As with anything in golf, learning how to putt properly is down to hours and hours of practice.
But the practice isn’t just to improve your stroke. It’s also to help you with confidence once you step onto the green.
Many golfers struggle with putting the most out of their whole game, and this can lead to scores skyrocketing as soon you step onto the green.
If you’ve practiced your swing enough, then you don’t have to worry about whether or not you’re going to sink this next putt – you have the skills to recover if you don’t make it.