As we all are looking at how to lower our scores and improve our handicaps, we all know the answer. We simply do not want to hear it. To lower you scores you need to improve your putting stroke. Before you start making excuses, let me say, I already know. I already know that practicing three foot putts or hitting putts to the fringe to work on your distance control for hours on end is not as sexy as stepping up on the range and banging the big stick.
With that being said, there still is a lot of truth in the statement that you drive for show and putt for dough. It really does not matter how far that you can hit it off of the tee or how close you can place your ball to the flag if you cannot make a good enough putting stroke to wiggle the golf ball in for a birdie.
There are three putting fundamentals that you need to make sure that you employ in your putting stroke. Even if you change your practice sessions, so that you putt 50% of the time and spend the other 50% on the driving range you will be amazed at how quickly your scores will go down. Here are the three putting fundamentals:
KEEP YOUR EYES OVER THE BALL
While you are putting, you must stand to the side of the golf ball. So, your eyes must be over the golf ball. We have all heard this one before, correct? In addition, your eyes should not be ahead of the golf ball either. To learn where your eyes are positioned during your putting stroke, simply take your putting stance. Then drop a golf ball from the bridge of your nose and between your eyes. The ball should drop onto the ball on the ground or just behind it on the target line. There are also many golf putting aids that can assist you with where you are positioning your eyes while putting.
KEEP YOUR HEAD STILL
You should hold your head still to keep the putter on path throughout the stroke and there are many ways to do this. If you travel, you can practice this at home or in a hotel room. Take your putting stance. Make sure the top of your head is touching the wall and as you take your stroke you should not be able to feel your head move off of the wall. If you do you have too much motion in your putting stroke your head will stay on the wall. Another way to do it is to incorporate a friend. While you swing your putter back and through, have your friend place his/her hand on top of your head to hold your head still. This also provides instant feedback to you. If you are by yourself, take a putting stroke and after the ball is gone, look at the spot where the ball was and slowly count to three and listen for the ball to fall into the putting cup. Although counting to three will seem like an eternity, this is the key to become a good putter under pressure.
KEEP A STABLE BASE
Watching the tour players, you will see that no matter how long the putt is, they do not move their lower body during the putting stroke. To keep you lower body still during the putting stroke, the following putting drill will keep your lower body in place during the stroke. Find an empty wall and take your putting stance while placing your bum against the wall. Now simply take some strokes without allowing your bum to move off of the wall. While out on the putting green, take your putting stance. Then wedge a rubber ball between your knees. You can use a cheap kids ball or a volleyball. You will need to squeeze the ball slightly to create a solid foundation and not to let the ball drop from between your knees. Eventually, you will develop the feeling of stability. Keeping a stable base is a fundamental of a consistent putting stroke.
Using some of your practice time to improve you putting will quickly pay dividends. Implement the putting fundamentals above and your scores will drop and so will your handicap.
Max Johnson of VGS Golf & Country Club Supplies Click for more on thePutting Stroke. Click for more onStan Utley.