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Lining Up Your Putts
Matt is an opinionated* golf enthusiast from Pennsylvania. He coaches at the high school level, molding the minds and swings of our next generation. His column will appear each Monday on ClubSG. Feel free to chime in with your thoughts and opinions of Matt in the comments. Don't hold back- because Matt won't.

One of the most frustrating things about the game of golf is putting. It doesn't matter how many good shots you hit in the course of your round, if you can't putt, you can’t score. Three good shots and one bad putt still make a bogie. However, three bad shots and one good putt is, somehow, a par. It is so frustrating to hit the ball well all day and end up losing to the guy in your group that hits it all over the place, but manages to make every putt! So, here's a little suggestion that will revolutionize your putting stroke.
One of the most frequent mistakes that mid to high handicappers make is that they fail to commit to a line.

Making putts is all about getting two things correct, the line and the speed. In this column, the line of your putts is going to be our focus. One of the most frequent mistakes that mid to high handicappers make is that they fail to commit to a line. Have you ever stood over a putt and changed your mind about the line that you were going to play? I know I have. And, rarely, does the line that I changed to end up being the correct one. It is also very common for players to not pick a specific line. For example, you will read a putt and decide that is going to break to the right, but you never really decide how much. As you stand over the putt, you aim your putter somewhere left of the hole and proceed to hit and hope! Neither of these approaches to putting is going to prove to be consistently successful.

In order to sure up your commitment to a specific line, I suggest that you subscribe to the strategy that is continuing to gain more and more popularity. That strategy is the use a line on your golf ball to line up your putts. In fact, I suggest drawing a line the entire way around your ball. That little line is going to change your putting forever! I know it because it changed mine! It is a very simple thing to do, but it will help you with several different aspects of your ability to make putts. First of all, the line will force you to choose a specific target. Once you read your putt, you aim the line as far left or right as you think the putt is going to break. It is no longer a hit and hope situation. You read it and set the line accordingly. So, when you are reading the putt, you are already thinking about where you are going to point your line. This forces you to be specific and pick an exact aiming point. Secondly, the line makes you commit to your read. You just have to decide that once you get it lined up, you are no longer going to think about the read. When you are standing over your putt, you are focused on the speed. You have already made up your mind about the break and the length of your stroke is all you have to consider. Consequently, not only are you going to do a better job with the line of your putts, you are going to also become more consistent with your speed. Separating the two points of focus in your pre-shot routine will make you better at both of them.
You want the ball to start rolling immediately after your putter impacts the ball.

The last little bonus that comes with using a line on your ball to improve your putting is that the line will give you instant feedback on how you are striking your putts. You want the ball to start rolling immediately after your putter impacts the ball. A lot of amateur players have the ball skidding and hopping off their putter face. If you use a line on your ball, you will know exactly how you are rolling it. When you hit a putt properly, the solid line will be easily visible as the ball rolls towards the hole. However, if you cause the ball to skid or jump instead of rolling, the line will disappear. It is instant feedback that you can use on the course and on the putting green to develop a much more consistent putting stroke.

Drawing a line on your ball is not just a gimmick that someone dreamt up to make some money. It is a legit method for improving your putting. In fact, it is so common that many golf balls now come from their manufacturer with a line already printed on them. If you watch golf, you will see guys all over the PGA Tour that are using a line to make more putts. You can find a template for drawing your line at any golf shop for less than five bucks. I cannot urge you enough to give this idea a try the next time you head out on the links. You’ll be amazed at the difference that a simple line can make!


* Matt's views and opinions are his own do not necessarily reflect those of SkyGolf.

photo source


[ comments ]
markmancell says:
If your ball tends to skip what adjustments to your stroke do you need to make? Maybe pronate your hands at address to deloft the face?
8/31/10
 
drive4sho says:
Sometimes a forward press will help to level out your stroke, but the key is that you are rolling the ball and not hitting it. If you stroke the ball while your putter head is on the way up, it will get he ball rolling right off the face. If you club face is on its way down, it will push the ball down into the green causing the ball to bounce and skid.
9/1/10
 
Ron Cosmero says:
The line on the ball has helped me to improve my putting ever since I started using it a few years ago. Also picking a spot a couple of inches in front of your ball to make sure you roll over has been a great tool.
9/20/10
 
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