Pro View – Nicely Putt!

Rory McIlroy seems to have found his putting boots again recently, and with Dustin Johnson’s performance with the flat stick at Crooked Stick last week, putting has yet again come to the forefront of media attention.

Putting is a skill which will happen a minimum of 18 times a round every single time you step onto a golf course, and whether you love it or hate it, is something that you will always have to do for as long as you continue to play golf.

Despite the higher number of putts taken as opposed to tee shots hit with the driver, many a golfer will be happy to spend three figures on the new technology to help them hit the ball that extra 20 yards further, yet be reluctant to spend anything like that sort of money on a putter, a club which you would use on every hole!

Maybe this accounts for the number of putts taken by the average golfer in the UK. A ‘putting par’ could be considered to total 36; 2 putts per green multiplied by 18 greens. How many putts do you think the average golfer takes during a round?

Statistics indicate that the average golfer takes 42 putts per round! If you thought yourself as 6 over par prior to stepping on the first tee, you may want to do something about it!

How do you go about improving your putting? At this point, because of what has been written in golfing media for the last couple of decades, the answer most people would give would relate to changing their putting stroke.

Every single person on the planet has a different type of putting stroke, which may fall into the category of ‘in-to-square’ or ‘square-to-square’, or even ‘out-to-in’. I prefer to think of a putting stroke as their personal signature, their own method of executing the task of getting the ball in the hole, that is personal to that individual.

Whether a painting, a bank note or a signature, forgeries are generally found out, cheap imitations of the real thing. Why would you want something which you need to use every time you play golf to be a forgery!

So if everyone has a different stroke, and research has proven that there is not ONE perfect stroke, what are you going to change yours to?

The answer to improving your putting will encompass so many variables, such as green reading, golf ball and putter choice, but as a start, it may lie in your set-up position.

I am not suggesting here that you copy the address position of a Tour Pro, or one which your peers may have suggested, merely to find out address position is OPTIMAL for YOU.

Try NOT lining up your golf ball. Recent research (albeit not extensive) has suggested that outside of 10 feet, lining up a ball can be detrimental to your putting performance. When you think about it, you are attempting to create a straight line to a small point, with a line that is drawn on a curved surface…….for me very difficult to achieve, unless you are set-up in such a position to see such a straight line, which leads me to my next point.

Your eyeline is hugely important. I am not talking about relative to the golf ball, as this again will be individual to you. The key is the angle at which your eyes are positioned when addressing the ball. When checking the target, a slight angle in your eyeline can distort the original image which have seen, leading to a lack of clarity to where your aiming point lies.

With a lack of clarity, I can say with certainty that your putting stroke will break down resulting in an unsuccessful attempt at holing out.

Bear in mind, that from ten foot, a one degree error in clubface alignment at impact will mean a missed putt!

Dont be afraid to do a bit of ‘experimenting’ on the practice green to see if it improves your putting. Remember though, you must stick to a new routine when on the course. Make a commitment to improving throughout this coming winter, and the results will follow.

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