I think it is fair to say that putting is the hardest part of playing golf. You can hit shots all day within 10 feet… but if you are not making putts, your score would be the same as those that hit it to 20-30 feet and two putt from there. For you to improve your scores past a certain point, you’ll have to improve your putting. No doubt about it.
How can you improve your putting?
- Practice more on the putting green. Spend more time at the putting green than the driving range. Hit lots of different putts, and take each one seriously, as if it were in a competitive round. Spend hours on the putting green, practicing putts for all different angles and distances. Practice long putts, short putts, left breaking putts, right breaking putts, double breakers, one footers, etc. Don’t skip out on any putts.
- Buy a putting green for your house. I can’t stress enough how much my putting improved when I bought a cheap putting green/mat under $40 for my house. I use it all the time, and my putting always feel more comfortable when I have been consistently putting at home.
- Improve your setup. If your setup is not consistent or doesn’t allow you to properly see the line, it’s hard to be a good putter. You’ll want to make sure that your setup is square and that your eyes are in a consistent spot over the ball. A putting mirror is perfect for this purpose.
- Improve your ability to see the correct line. It is very easy to see how the correct line when you are standing behind the ball. However, when you address the ball, the different angle can easily make it more difficult to see where you should be aiming your putter. To fix this, you need to practice while having a physical line chalked into the putting green on a straight putt, so that you can acclimate your aiming when you are over the ball. Chalk lines and putting string lines are great items to have to improve your ability to see a straight line while over the ball.
- Improve your putting stroke. There are a few training aids that really improve the path of your putter. Many golfers take the putter far too outside in the backstroke and cut across the ball as a result. A more consistent and natural motion would be to do a slight arc motion, where the putter goes inside, hits the ball square, and then goes back to the inside after impact. A putting arc is the best training aid to improve your putting stroke.
- Improve your contact. If you struggle hitting the putter square on the face, I would recommend you just use some tees to create a gate to swing your putter through. If you don’t hit the ball on the center of the face, make it to where your putter will hit the tee to the left or right of the ball. The narrower the tees are, the harder it is. Consider picking up the putting gate (listed below), as it is very easy to set up and use.
- Get the ball started with a better roll. Making sure the first roll of the ball is on line is super important. A putter wheel like the Pill is a great tool to practice with to ensure your ball is rolling end over end, without much lateral movement. This tool will teach you to get the ball rolling perfectly towards your target as opposed to off line.
- Improve your tempo. Tempo is huge when it comes to putting. If your putter allows, just put a quarter (or another coin) on the back of your putter. If your putting stroke is too aggressive, the quarter will drop in the backswing. Learn to keep the quarter there for the whole stroke for a smoother motion.
- Improve your distance control. Doesn’t matter how good your line is. If you consistently hit the ball too hard or too soft, you will not be a good putter. This Pressure Putt Trainer is a great tool to practice your distance control, as you have to hit the ball the perfect speed for it to stay in the hole.
Best Putting Training Aid for Your Setup: Putting Mirror
A putting mirror can make a huge improvement in your overall putting. If your eyes are too far over or too far inside the ball at address, you might not realize how difficult it can be to correctly see the right line. If your eyes are too far inside the ball, you will likely end up missing many putts to the right, due to how your eyes are looking at the hole. If your eyes are too far outside the ball, then you will likely miss to the left (even with a perfect stroke) because your eyes are deceiving you.
The best setup for your eyes while putting is directly over the ball, or maybe just a tad to the inside of the ball. To make sure you are doing this, I’d suggest you pick up a cheap putting mirror and use it while practicing on the putting green. You’ll quickly realize how you are positioning your eyes, and you can practice with it for as long as it takes for you to get comfortable being in the right position. You might have to feel like you are leaning far over the ball. The opposite side of that would be to feel like you are standing very tall (if you typically have your eyes too far over the ball).
Anyway, a putting mirror is a great tool to make sure you are consistently seeing the putt from the correct angle.
How to Improve Your Aim with a Training Aid: Putting String or Chalk Line
Seeing the line from behind the ball is easier. It is much more difficult when you are standing over the putt, though. That is because the angle is completely different. To get your eyes used to seeing a straight line while over the ball, two great tools to use are putting string lines and chalk lines.
With a putting string (shown in the picture above), you simply put two stakes into the ground, one behind the hole and one 10-12 feet away from the hole. You put the ball directly under the line. When you address the ball, you will see a straight line going right to the hole. Make sure you putt the ball and string on a straight putt, not on one that curves in either direction. That will make the putting string that much more useful. You can also use the string to make sure that you are not taking the putter outside the path on the backstroke.
With a chalk line, which I am a bigger fan of, you physically use a tool to put a faint line of chalk down on the putting green. Most courses won’t mind, as the lines will wash away with the rain. Again, make sure you are doing it on a perfectly straight put. It might take some time to determine where the put the line. This chalk line will give you a perfectly straight putt to visually see when you are over the ball. It will get your eyes adjusted to seeing a truly straight line when you are standing over the golf ball. See the video below to see how the chalk line works.
Perfect Training Aid for your Putting Stroke: Putting Arc
The putting stroke is one that most people simply don’t practice enough. They think they can simply adjust or just make due with what they have got. That is wrong. It takes a lot of time and repitions to truly develop a consistent, fundamentally sound putting stroke.
The best training aid to practice your putting stoke is a simple putting arc. They are very easy to use and super effective. It makes sure that the putter is traveling inside of the ball both in the backswing and after contact. Most putters have a stroke that is either too far outside in the back stroke or too far to the right int he follow through.
The putting arc, once used hundreds of times, engrains the correct motion into your mind. I would encourage you to use it on your home putting green as well if you have one.
Training Aid to Put a Solid Roll on the Ball: The Pill
The golf director of the club that I used to work at brought these out to the putting green and let everyone try them. They are super fun to play with, and they really give you great feedback about whether your putt is rolling correctly from the start. If The Pill falls over, you’ll know that you didn’t make a good stroke on a ball.
Once you practice enough with it, you will develop a putting stroke that allows the ball to roll end over end on the green.
Best Training Aid For Better Contact & Getting the Ball Rolling on the Right Line: SKLZ Putting Gate
Solid contact with the center of the putter face is very important. Otherwise, the initial direction and speed of the putts will be inconsistent. With the SKLZ Putting Gate you can ensure that you are making center contact and getting the ball rolling in the right direction from the start. The tee in between the ball will ensure that you are missing the tees and hitting the ball on the dead center of the face.
Where a putt starts rolling is the most important aspect of the line of the putter. After that, you can only let the green determine where the ball moves. To make sure you are getting the putt started off on the right line, a putting gate is very effective. Once you place tees in the designed spots, you will know very quickly if your ball is not starting on the right line.
The tees are roughly a foot away from where the ball starts, so this will ensure your putt is exactly on line for the first foot of the putt. Overall, an incredible useful tool, and one that costs under $20 too.
Best Training Aid for Distance/Speed Control: Pressure Putt Trainer
If you struggle with your distance control, consider picking up the Pressure Putt Trainer to really dial in your speed. You can use it on the practice putting green or even at home. It’s actually a great tool for both distance control and aim. It requires you to hit an absolute PERFECT putt for it to stay in the hole.
If your putts are just a tad too hard, the putt will fall out of the hole. If you challenge yourself and get a lot of reps in, you’ll quickly realize how much better your speed control will become.