Have you ever said “If I could only make a straight putt, I could sink this one”. Then you push or pull or leave your putt short. It’s so frustrating but it happens all the time. Fortunately if you say this to yourself, you are way ahead of 50% of all golfers. At least you understand the critical component of putting: Choose your line and make a straight putt.
Alignment is critical. If you swing your putter directly up your target line and impact the ball dead center on your putter face, you should at least hit the right line. Developing a “Feel for the Break” is the hard part. Getting the right swing speed for the right distance is a matter of practice but the break and slope is different on every putt.
I saw an ad for a putting alignment mirror highlighting steps to hit a straight putt:
-Choose the right target line. The mirror has a line which is easy to line up when you stand behind it and line it up with your target point. [Too bad it’s not legal on the course.]
-Make sure that your head and eyes are directly over the ball to avoid a distorted view of the direction to your TARGET. [Basically, that’s all the mirror is helping you control.]
-Swing so that the putter will impact directly on the center point of your putter. [That’s your primary thought during your swing. [Test your putter on a perfectly flat surface to build confidence in your putting stroke and your swing for a straight 4 foot putt.]
-Limit your backswing so that you can accelerate through the ball and continue your swing directly up your target line. (Don’t jab at it and quickly return your putter.)
Feel the Break
We can all play catch by tossing a ball 4 feet or 10 feet or 15 feet. Unfortunately putting is infinitely more difficult. Judging the distance is easy but you must develop your feel for the green speed as well as the slope and break of the green to hit a very small target. Jerry Seinfeld is NOT a fan of golf. He said “golf is about as challenging as throwing a Tic Tac 100 yards into a shoe box.” And sometimes we wonder why we play this crazy sport.
During the COVID-19 recovery period, you may be fortunate enough to play on a course where the holes are ringed with a rubber insert. On those course, if you hit the insert, USGA ruled that it counts as a sunk putt. Smart golfers quickly learn that a firm putt does not break as much near the hole and they nail that rubber ring every time. BINGO, LIGHT BULB: Why not hit firm putts to limit the break and sink more putts. Hitting PowerPutts (that could run 2 or 3 feet past the hole) are much more likely to sink.
Practice putting using your GOLFSTR+ to hold your leading wrist flat. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com
Golf Truism #14: One birdie is a hot streak.