About 25 years ago one winter I was determined to lower my scores. Since I couldn’t hit balls I knew I could get better at putting. I tried all kinds of putters, ways to hold the handle, and different mechanics.
I toiled with all the different setups and theories in golf magazines. Now you can find endless amounts of information on line.
Theories and setups like: hands high/low, loose/tight grip, straight back and through, arc back and through….it seemed like I could never get my putts consistently on line focusing on my mechanics.
I read a couple of golf books about the mental side of the game so decided to make this more of a focus than the mechanics of putting. I immediately noticed that I was more consistent if I did not think about mechanics or speed.
In golf a great short to medium putt counts as much as a pin seeking iron shot or a 250 yard plus drive down the middle of the fairway.
Best Way to Practice Putting at Home
Is putting confidence important?
If you are trying to lower your scores making more putts within 10 feet is the easiest to practice and requires the least athletic ability. There are thousands of tips, videos, and instructions to help you improve your stroke.
The suggestions here will have you putting like a tiger in no time. All you have to do is commit to a few minutes a day to sharpen your skills and develop confidence for those 6 footers on the course.
Confidence is critical when putting, so if you are not comfortable something has to change to improve. Things that can be easily changed without a lot of effort are grip (hands on the handle), the putter, and your setup.
What is the best putting technique?
The different pros on the PGA, Champions, and LPGA tour showcase all kinds of different putting styles.
Tiger Woods uses a standard grip and stance.
Phil Mickelson sports the claw or sometimes called the pencil.
Jordan Spieth and Lydia Ko use the left hand (front hand) low technique.
Matt Kucher uses a medium length putter with the putter running up one arm.
Bernard Langer still uses a broom stick style.
What grip will improve your stroke?
Simply put, the best putting grip for you is the grip you are most comfortable with physically and on the course playing with your buds. Determine this by choosing which one you like.
Please don’t complicate this! Try them all by putting on a green or a carpet in your house. If it feels natural to you and the results are good use it, in time if things change try something else.
There are too many golfers using the same old grip, putter, or both. Change it up if you miss short putts or three putt often.
Is the type of putter important?
Yes the type of putter is important. The more you love the look and feel of your tool the better you will perform!
There are literally thousands of different models and styles of putters, and you should at least understand the basic elements of them.
Literally how long a putter is.
Fat, medium, thin, long or short. A real trend now are the fatter grips like the super stroke.
Blade style, traditional head, medium mallet, or large mallet. Most putter heads have some type of marking on the head to help with aim and alignment. Having an alignment aid on the putter can definitely help you setup to your target.
The mass of the putter head, shaft and grip.
Where Can I Test Golf Gear?
Larger sport stores, golf shops, and golf courses carry many different putters and even have artificial or real greens so customers can do some experimenting.
Go have some fun and try variety of these putters. You should gravitate to model and style that feels and looks good to you.
Once you have technique and putter you are ready to become a deadly putter by practicing at home.
What equipment do I need to practice at home?
The goal here is to give you some simple ideas to promote maximum confidence with minimal effort and expense.
A person can get fancy and use different putting aids that will all help you, but we will take more of a DIY approach to improve your putting.
If all you can afford is a putter and a golf ball then these suggestions will help you improve.
Ideally to become a better putter you would have a putting mat, meter stick, string, 2 water bottles, and an alignment stick.
To get this setup is relatively easy and inexpensive: I bought this putting mat on Amazon and the rest I setup myself using a string line some bottles and a chalk line or just chalk for my line. My kids have a lot of that road chalk stuff.
Do it Yourself Putting Practice Setup
“A picture tells a thousand words” see the picture of the setup anybody could easily fabricate in their home. Please understand you don’t have to match this exactly but you can use the picture as a guide depending on what you want to spend or use at your house.
EASY AS 123
- Mark a straight line to a hole using chalk.
- Tie a string between 2 water bottles or milk jugs.
- Line up the string over the chalk line.
Now you have a great place to practice; All under $50. A little practice each day will be easy now!
A precise setup would have your string line directly over your putting line, and both of these lines parallel with your alignment stick. It is best if your alignment stick is in front of your feet when you putt and in a spot that makes it easy to align your shoulders parallel to your putting line as well.
Having your shoulders parallel to the line of the putt will lead to consistency. Practicing at home will definitely lead to more hole outs, pars, and birdies. Who doesn’t want these?
What is a good putting setup?
A good setup would have your hands in a comfortable setup with your eyes directly above the line you would like your putt to go.
Using your putting mat you can set up the bottles, string and mirror to help you determine when your eyes are above the putting line. Adjust your putter to aim to putt on the line and adjust your set up so your eyes are directly over the string.
A simple putting practice area will assure you are setting up properly for all types of putts this leads to confidence.
You will know when your eyes are above the putting line when the string appears to be covering the line of the putt.
Once in this position putt the ball along the line. Your goal would be to get into a good setup and consistently putt the ball along the line after you line your eyes directly over the line of the putt.
How to become a more consistent putter?
More than likely most short putts are missed because a person is not confident in their stroke. The reason you may not be able to get your putt on the intended line consistently is not having a consistent mental approach.
Your body will perform more consistently when it is relaxed and focused on something target related.
Jordan Spieth about his Mode
Jordan Spieth describes his state of mind when he is putting at his best as a “blackout”. When he is in this “blackout” mode everything is effortless. He doesn’t think about his stroke, setup, or speed. All that he has in his mind’s eye is a burning image of the line of the putt.
Spieth is a very interesting short putter because sometimes he looks at the hole when he putts and other times he is looking at the ball. It would be interesting to try putting while looking at the hole.
After some research I realized the theory for looking at the hole instead of the ball. While looking at the hole you eliminate the tendency to think about your putting mechanics. Eliminating these thoughts is critical to great putting!
Some basic stroke mechanics are important!
This needs to be brief because generally putting does not need to be technical. Here are the keys I have tested repeatedly that have led to a consistent stroke:
- Shoulders in line with the intended putting line.
- Putter grip is pointed towards your mid section.
- Move your putter back and through using your shoulders and midsection while staying very relaxed. Do not be use your wrists or hands in the stroke.
- Keep your grip on the putter fairly light. On a scale of 1 to 10 for grip pressure I would suggest a 4. You can experiment with this!
- Finally as you stroke the putt try keeping your putter pointed to the same place on your midsection. Remember the motion is created with your shoulders and torso not your hands. This motion is often called a rocking motion.
Practicing these mechanics at home will lead to putts that get on line regularly. Get this right and then all you have to do is find a great routine and mental image and you can impress everybody with your new found skill.
Choose mental over mechanics to become a great putter!
Now that you have a basic putting practice area, putter you like, grip and basic setup you are ready to nail down a putting routine that will get you into a mode like Jordan Spieth and hopefully putt like him as well.
This is a routine that has served me well for the past 25 years…I have deviated from it a few times but I always come back to it and now I would like to share it with you so you can cut down your scores.
A great putting routine!
For your pleasure and immediate improvement this is what worked so well for thousands of putts.
Stand behind your putt pick something about 6 inches to a foot in front of your ball that is on your intended line.
Come beside your ball and do a practice stroke or 2 to get relaxed and feel the stroke needed to get the ball in the hole.
Then line up your putter and body so it will send the ball over the spot you picked on the line of your putt.
Take one last look at the hole and as you look at your ball visual the hole in your mind’s eye as you just saw it. You should have no other thoughts at all, just a clear picture of what you just saw.
Once you have that visual putt the ball. If your body is relaxed and your image is focused you should be able to get that ball where you want it to go. I think you will be amazed at how your body just knows what to do when you get it in the right mode like the pros do.
Practice this repeatedly until it becomes natural and you will make more putts than you did before.
Ultimately you will need to practice your putting technique less because you will be confident in your ability to focus, relax, and pull the trigger once you have a snap shot of the hole in your subconscious.
To lower scores and a better game; happy golfing my friends!