A good golf game is made or ruined on the greens.
As the old saying goes, “Drive for show, putt for dough.” It sure is true if you really want to elevate your golf game. Sure you can drive the ball 300 yards, but if you have no feel on the greens, a nice little 3-putt can ruin even the best of drives. Heck, even Happy Gilmore had to learn how to putt.
So I am here to help you out. Now, I am not going to pretend to be the world’s best golfer. These tips come from various sources from magazines, websites, desk calendars and sure I will throw in two or three I have been taught over the years that have helped me. Take these tips with you on your next round of golf and let me know if they helped or hurt.
Here we go.
Putt to nowhere
This may be one of the strangest tips I have come across, but seriously try it. Before you start your round, head to the practice green. Drop a few balls down and don’t even look to where you are putting. Don’t even line up to a hole. Just concentrate on your putting motion. Work on making the same exact stroke three consecutive times and make sure your ball stops at the same spot each time. Doing this enough will give you better speed control and help with consistency. Then, when you get back out on the course, line your ball up before you putt and figure out your speed based on what you did on the practice green. You will be surprised at your end results and how much your putting will improve.
Take it easy
If you are playing in a strict league or against some of your buddies for money, odds are gimmies are thrown out the door. So on those 3-foot putts, try not to send it home with authority. There is a lot of temptation there to just line it up straight at the hole and slam it in, but that leaves very little room for error. Hitting a putt that close means you must drill the center of the hole. You wont be able to sneak it in off of the edge. So instead, take it easy. Hit your putt at a speed that it will drop in no matter where it catches the cup. If you do miss it, make sure it only has enough speed to go a few inches past the hole so you can clean it up with a tap in. You will save plenty of strokes that way and maybe your buddies won’t read this tip and they will send it screaming by.
To glove, or not to glove?
A lot of golfers take their glove off when they get on the green. Some like to keep it on to putt. There is no right or wrong way to do this. Just look at it as a comfort thing. If you are unsure what to do, practice both ways. Hit 20 putts with a glove on and 20 more with it off. If you feel comfortable one way or another, go with it. If you find you did better with a glove on, keep it on just to increase your confidence. Golf is all about confidence and the same can be said about putting. If keeping your glove on will give you confidence, no one is going to say a word when you walk up and sink putts like a pro. Don’t just take your glove off because everyone is doing it and your favorite pro is doing it too. Do what makes you comfortable. Just be careful to avoid the dreaded glove tan line. That isn’t a good look for anyone.
Hover the putter
This one is easier said than done. I cannot tell you how long I have been doing this wrong. Usually, when I set up to putt, I will take my putter straight back skidding it off of the green. I was told to hover my putter before starting my stroke. Before going back, take the putter off of the ground slightly hovering it off of the surface then start the motion. This will cause you to hit the center of the ball rather than the bottom half and avoid the potential of lifting the ball in the air a bit and causing it to bounce and go off line. Don’t just try this for the first time during your round. I did that and it was an awkward feel for me. Practice hovering before you play. Get a feel for it and make sure your stroke is on line and perfect.
Know the green
This comes with playing a course multiple times, but the best thing you can do is learn every green. If you play a course for the first time and you plan on playing it again and again, take notes of the greens. Write down the landscape and if it would be better to be above or below the hole on your putts. Would it be better to be to the left or the right of the hole? These are all things that can help you with your putting. Setting yourself up for the easiest putt possible will significantly lower your scores. Keep your notes in your back for the next time and refer back to them while you are on the tee box. Try to avoid looking at your notes before your approach shot so you do not slow down play. Plus, looking at them before your tee shot could help you figure out a good landing zone so you have the best shot going into the green.