Smart Putting

During a typical round of golf you will use your putter much more than any other club. Obviously, putting well is crucial for good scoring. And putting takes no special strength or athletic ability. Yet we all seem to struggle on the greens. This is particularly the case with “gorilla golfers” who love to whack the ball but have trouble with feel.

As with all golf shots, there are some basic fundamentals you need to master if you are to putt well: keep still over the ball, don’t break your wrists during the stroke, follow through to the hole, and so forth. There is no shortage of good instruction out there.
But the good news is that unlike most other aspects of the game, you can have success on the greens using your own style and approach. So make a resolution that you are going to improve.

In order to be a consistently good putter, even for gorilla golfers, try the following:

1) Lighten Up
The key, as in much of golf, is relaxation. Don’t freeze up and fear the result.  Have confidence when you look at the hole. Step up, see the line you want, and make a firm stroke. Don’t worry and you will get better results.

2) Become Accustomed to Success
Practice three foot putts, then four foot putts, then five foot putts. Get used to sinking these little ones. Listen to the wonderful sound of the ball dropping in the hole. Make successful short putting normal and easy. It’s all in your head.

3) Master the Feel
Three-putting is almost always the result of a poor, and usually tentative, first putt. The stroke and the direction might be fine, but the ball is left terribly short. If this is your problem, you need to spend some time understanding, and feeling, the speed of the greens.

On the practice green, stand 30-40 feet away from the hole. Take four-balls balls and try to toss them close to the hole.  After the first couple of attempts, you will judge fairly well the speed of the green. Your technique will be smooth and relaxed as you toss the balls. Now duplicate this with a stroke of the putter. Calmly and smoothly but firm. Keep hitting lag putts until it feels easy.

4) Learn to Read the Green
Be aware of the undulations on a green, as well as the general tendency of greens to slope towards water and down from hillsides.  Read your putt from the other side of the hole.  Often the break will be seen to be much more pronounced than you first thought.  Understand “grain” and how that affects the speed and break of putts. Observe closely how chip shots react when they roll past the pin; go to school on your opponent’s putts; and learn from your own first putt. Having of this data will make your task that much easier.

5) Apply Yourself
You’ve arrived on the putting surface. You may be delighted to be putting for a birdie, or may be relieved that you reached the green by avoiding some serious danger, or you may be annoyed that it took you so long to get on the dance floor. But now is the time to really focus. A three-putt or worse can ruin a good hole and make a bad hole a disaster. Don’t daydream on the green. This is time to sharpen your concentration. Your attitude for the rest of the round is often at stake. You may write five down on the score card, but you will feel quite a bit better going to the next tee if that five includes one and not three putts!

Analyze what is wrong with your putting and make an effort to work on it.  Fixing your putting is the surest, and without doubt the easiest, way to bring down that handicap.

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Golf Putters Clubs July 23, 2010

There isn’t much info out there about the Callaway Bobby Jones series of putters so I didn’t know what to think of them at first. Now after owning & using this one for a bit I can say they’re definitely worth a look. I got a spectacular deal on mine that I couldn’t pass up, but they can still be had on eBay occasionally for reasonable prices. Great quality, looks fantastic, and putts like a charm. It just goes to show that it doesn’t have to say Scotty Cameron on it for it to be a good putter. 😉

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