10 Best Golf Putting Tips for a Masterful Short Game

Colin McCarthy

best golf putting tips

Mastering the art of putting can transform an average round of golf into a memorable one. With around 40% of a golfer’s strokes coming from putting, honing this skill is crucial for lowering scores and boosting confidence on the greens. Even the pros, like Cam Smith, emphasize the importance of a consistent setup and alignment.

Investing in a putting mirror can be a game-changer, helping golfers maintain proper shoulder alignment and focus on the putter face at impact.

This simple yet effective tool, combined with targeted practice, can remedy common issues like misaligned strokes or a closed face at impact.

Ready to elevate your putting game? Dive into these 10 essential tips that will have you sinking more putts and shaving strokes off your scorecard.

Tip 1: Prioritize Your Stance

A golfer’s stance is crucial for consistent and accurate putting. Proper stance forms the foundation for every putt, impacting both precision and distance control.

Find a Comfortable and Stable Position

Finding a comfortable and stable position is essential for a reliable putting stroke. He should start by positioning his feet shoulder-width apart, ensuring that his weight is evenly distributed across both feet.

Knees should be slightly bent to enhance stability and balance. He needs to maintain a relaxed posture, allowing for a smooth and controlled stroke without any unnecessary tension.

Another key element is the alignment of the shoulders, hips, and feet, which should all be parallel to the target line. This alignment helps in guiding the putt more accurately.

Additionally, keeping the eyes directly over the ball will aid in better visibility of the putting line and improve overall accuracy. With consistent practice, these steps can significantly enhance one’s putting performance.

Ensure Consistent Ball Placement

Ensuring consistent ball placement will lead to greater accuracy and reliability. The ball should always be positioned slightly forward of the center in his stance, directly under his left eye (for right-handed golfers).

This specific position helps in making a solid, downward stroke to promote better roll and distance control. Practicing this ball placement routine before each putt can significantly reduce inconsistencies and improve overall performance on the greens.

Tip 2: Master Your Grip

A good grip is fundamental to confident and consistent putting. Find the grip style and pressure that work best for you to improve your putting game.

Choosing the Right Grip Style

Selecting the appropriate grip style can significantly impact your putting performance. Common grip styles include the traditional, cross-handed, and claw grips.

The traditional grip, where both hands rest on the club in their usual positions, offers a balanced approach suitable for most players.

The cross-handed grip, where the left hand (for right-handed players) is positioned below the right, can help stabilize the stroke for many golfers.

The claw grip, which involves placing the right hand in a claw-like position, can alleviate tension and improve control. Experiment with each style during practice to determine which feels most comfortable and provides the best results.

Grip Pressure and Its Effects

Understanding grip pressure is crucial for achieving a smooth putting stroke. Excessive grip pressure can lead to tension in the hands and arms, causing an inconsistent stroke and poor distance control.

On the other hand, a light grip promotes fluidity and precision, allowing better feedback from the putter head. Aim to maintain a grip that feels comfortable yet secure, akin to holding a small bird firm enough to keep it from flying away but gentle enough not to cause harm.

Regularly check your grip pressure during practice sessions to ensure it remains consistent from stroke to stroke.

By mastering your grip, you can enhance your putting technique, leading to improved accuracy and confidence on the greens.

Tip 3: Focus on Alignment

Proper alignment is the cornerstone of precise putting. Ensuring both the putter face and body are correctly aligned can significantly reduce the number of missed putts.

Aligning the Putter Face Correctly

Using a putting mirror can help you verify that your putter face is square to the target. These mirrors are compact, portable, and offer instant feedback.

Set up the mirror on your practice mat and place the ball in front. Check your reflection to see if the putter face is square. This tool helps you consistently return to a proper setup position, as endorsed by professionals like Cam Smith.

Additionally, using an alignment rod along the toe of your putter head can aid in practicing a straight-back and straight-through stroke.

Spend five to ten minutes during each practice session to build muscle memory and ensure your putter face remains square through impact.

Body Alignment Techniques

Body alignment is just as crucial as aligning the putter face. A putting mirror can also show your shoulder alignment, helping you set up properly.

Stand over the ball and glance at the mirror to ensure your shoulders, hips, and feet are parallel to the target line. If your stroke is off, it might be due to your body alignment.

Many golfers use alignment sticks to visualize their alignment. Place the sticks on the ground parallel to your target line and use them as a reference.

Practicing with these tools can help establish proper body alignment and lead to more accurate and confident putts.

Tip 4: Develop a Consistent Putting Stroke

Developing a consistent putting stroke is crucial for maintaining accuracy and control on the greens.

Here are some tips to help you achieve this:

Understanding Stroke Mechanics

Understanding stroke mechanics is essential for a consistent putting stroke. Balance your grip pressure; too tight can restrict motion, while too loose can cause inconsistency.

Focus on maintaining a smooth pendulum-like motion, where shoulders control the stroke and wrists remain stable.

Consider using an alignment rod to ensure your putter head follows a straight path. Additionally, proper stance is crucial for accuracy; your feet should be shoulder-width apart with your eyes directly over the ball.

Practicing lag putting can also help you control distance better. Finally, always read the green carefully, paying attention to slopes and grain direction, to make more informed putting decisions.

Practicing a Smooth and Controlled Motion

Practicing a smooth and controlled motion helps reinforce a consistent stroke. Set up two alignment sticks or clubs parallel to your putter path on the ground.

Ensure your putter head glides smoothly between them, maintaining a steady tempo. Dedicate 5-10 minutes of practice daily to build muscle memory and enhance stroke reliability.

Additionally, focus on maintaining a proper grip and posture to ensure stability. Remember to keep your eyes directly over the ball and square your shoulders to the target line. Routine practice will significantly improve your accuracy and confidence on the greens.

Tip 5: Enhance Your Distance Control

Learning to Judge Distances

Accurate distance control starts with learning to judge distances effectively. It’s crucial to develop a sense of how far the ball needs to travel to reach the hole.

Professionals often walk the distance from the ball to the hole to gauge yardage. They also practice different swings to understand how much force corresponds with varying distances.

Using landmarks on the course as reference points helps in visualizing how far each stroke needs to be.

Drills for Distance Mastery

Practicing specific drills can significantly improve your distance control. The ladder drill, for instance, involves placing tees or markers at regular intervals from your putting position. Putt from the closest marker and incrementally increase the distance.

Another effective drill is the clock drill, where you place balls at different points around the hole in a circular pattern.

Aim to putt each ball, focusing on controlling the distance rather than the direction. These drills help build muscle memory and ensure more consistent performance on the course.

Tip 6: Read the Greens Effectively

Mastering how to read greens can significantly improve your putting game. Understanding the nuances of the green helps you make more accurate putts.

Identifying Slopes and Breaks

Identify slopes and breaks by observing the overall topography of the green. Start by crouching behind your ball to get a low-to-ground perspective.

Look for high and low points to determine the primary slope direction. Walk around to view the green from different angles to spot subtle breaks.

Be mindful of the grain of the grass, especially on Bermuda greens, as the grain can influence the ball’s path. Remember that water drainage patterns often dictate how a green slopes.

Speed and Its Influence on Line Choices

Assess speed to determine the optimal line for your putt. Faster greens require you to play more break since the ball will roll further with less force.

On slower greens, aim more directly as the ball will resist breaking. To gauge speed, practice lag putting, and use the practice green before your round.

Incorporate the green’s speed into your read, combining it with the slope assessment to choose a line that accounts for both distance and direction.

Tip 7: Stay Mentally Strong

Staying mentally strong on the golf course is just as important as physical skill.

Here’s how to develop and maintain mental resilience:

Building Confidence in Your Putting

Building confidence in your putting game is crucial for success on the greens. Consistently executing routine drills can instill a sense of reliability.

Simple exercises such as making three consecutive putts from short distances can provide a psychological boost. Daily practice with an indoor putting mat helps nurture this confidence.

Visualizing successful putts before taking the shot can create a positive mental image that translates to better performance.

Overcoming Negative Thoughts

Overcoming negative thoughts is key to maintaining mental strength in golf. When things go wrong, it’s vital to reset quickly.

Breathing techniques can help calm the mind and refocus your attention. Creating a pre-putt routine, like marking the ball and taking a deep breath, can anchor you to the present moment.

Positive self-talk should replace self-doubt; remind yourself of past successes rather than dwelling on mistakes. These strategies can help you maintain a focused, positive mindset on the course.

Tip 8: Practice Short Putts

Practicing short putts can significantly improve your overall putting performance.

Here’s how to make the most of your practice sessions:

Drills for Success Within Six Feet

Focusing on short putts is crucial for improving overall putting performance. One effective drill involves making 100 consecutive putts from a distance of 2 to 3 feet. If a putt is missed, the count resets to zero, encouraging consistency and mental resilience.

Another drill is the “clock drill,” where balls are placed around the hole at equal distances like a clock’s numbers. Practicing putts from these positions ensures proficiency from various angles within six feet.

The Importance of Short Putt Accuracy

Accuracy in short putts can drastically lower scores. Missing short putts is frustrating and often preventable by refining techniques. Short putts require precise alignment and smooth stroke execution, making it essential to practice them consistently.

Utilizing alignment tools like rods helps maintain a straight putter path, ensuring the ball rolls true to the intended line. Regularly practicing short putts builds confidence, making those crucial shots less daunting during actual play.

Tip 9: Utilize Visualization Techniques

When it comes to putting, the power of the mind can’t be overstated. Visualization techniques can elevate your game by helping you see and feel the putt before you actually make it.

Imagining the Path and Pace

Envisioning the ball’s journey to the hole can significantly improve accuracy. Visualize the entire path, including any breaks and the necessary pace.

Picture the ball rolling smoothly along your intended line and dropping into the cup. This mental rehearsal prepares your brain and body for the actual stroke, reinforcing muscle memory and boosting confidence. Another key tip is to practice short putts regularly.

These close-range shots build consistency and help you develop a feel for both distance and control. By mastering short putts, you can reduce the number of strokes and improve your overall score.

How Visualization Improves Performance

Practicing visualization enhances performance by reducing anxiety and fostering a positive mindset. When you imagine successful putts, your brain creates neural patterns similar to those formed during physical practice.

This mental conditioning can lead to more consistent and confident putting strokes under pressure. Incorporating visualization techniques into your routine can therefore bridge the gap between physical skill and mental preparedness, making each putt feel more achievable.

Tip 10: Regular and Purposeful Practice

Practice plays a crucial role in mastering your putting stroke. Regular, focused practice can transform your game.

Creating a Practice Routine

Establish a consistent practice routine to build muscle memory. Allocate specific times each week solely for putting practice. Begin each session with basic drills, such as hitting five to ten-foot putts to enhance accuracy.

Gradually increase the distance of your putts, focusing on maintaining a consistent stroke. Using tools like alignment rods can help ensure your putter stays straight through the stroke. Remember to track your progress to identify areas that need improvement.

Keeping Practice Engaging and Productive

Keep your practice sessions engaging by incorporating a variety of drills. Switch between distance control drills and accuracy exercises to prevent monotony.

For instance, set up a game where you simulate a range of putts with different lengths and breaks, making it both fun and challenging.

Incorporate feedback tools, such as the putting arc, to enhance your semi-circle putting strokes. Diversifying your practice will keep you motivated and make your practice time more effective.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I master my putting technique in golf?

Mastering putting requires focusing on stance, setup, alignment, and grip. Use alignment tools to improve, maintain balanced grip pressure, and practice distance control drills.

What are effective ways to improve my putting streak?

Effective ways include regular and purposeful practice, using feedback tools like the putting arc, and incorporating visualization techniques. Establish a mix of drills to keep practice engaging and productive, focusing on both mechanics and mental strategies.

Why is visualization important in putting?

Visualization helps enhance putting performance by enabling golfers to picture successful strokes and outcomes. It builds confidence and mental strength, allowing players to execute their strokes with more precision and consistency.

How do I use alignment tools for better putting?

Alignment tools help ensure that your putter face and body are correctly aligned with the target line. Practice with tools like alignment sticks or a putting mirror to develop a consistent setup and stroke, leading to improved accuracy.


Mastering the art of putting can significantly elevate a golfer’s game. By focusing on fundamentals like stance, alignment, and grip, and incorporating practical tools and drills, golfers can see marked improvements.

Embracing mental strategies and effective practice routines will help in building confidence and consistency. Regular, purposeful practice is key to transforming putting performance and achieving lower scores on the green.

Additionally, understanding the nuances of green reading and speed control can further refine your putting skills. Experimenting with different putter styles and adjusting your technique based on feedback can lead to significant gains.

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Colin McCarthy

Golf is about mastering your misses and learning from them. I seek answers on the how and why of the golf swing, gaining experience even when answers elude me. With over 11,000 hours of teaching and a hunger for learning, I welcome any questions. My goal is to introduce golf to as many as possible, simplifying the game for all to enjoy. Passionate, eager, and ambitious, I'm here to teach, listen, and learn. LinkedIn

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