Two counterintuitive tips to master the greens
We spend a lot of time talking about putting at ezLocator, and rightfully so. It’s without a doubt one of the most efficient and effective ways to pick up strokes on your round, or can just as easily turn a good round South if you’re not putting well (not to mention we offer green mapping and hole placement software solutions for golf courses, but of course that has nothing to do with it…). But, it really is worth harping on given its outside importance in your golf game. So, from time to time, we like to throw our readers a few tips on how to master the greens we at ezLocator spend so much time trying to make better, more interesting and yes, harder on you the player.
Being an excellent putter, at its core, isn’t about dropping bombs from way downtown. Holing 60 foot putts regularly isn’t the mark of a great putter (while it would be nice, no one consistently drops putts from that kind of distance). The mark of a great putter is about distance control from range, and precise aim from short. If you can sort those out with relative success, your putts per round will drop steadily.
The easiest way to improve your short putting game is focus; a careless preshot routine is a prime culprit of missed putts inside 5 feet. The supposed ease of the putt often induces players to plop their feet down into their swing stance before lining up their aim, — essentially, their aim has already been decided by their feet before the club even approaches the ball. A better routine is to carefully the putterface down your intended start line, and then take a comfortable stance.
Where things get a little more counterintuitive is with long putts. You’d think a player would take a slightly firmer grip on the putter when lining up for a long putt, given the extra distance you need to send the ball, but that’s actually the opposite of what you should be doing. Too often, amateurs strangle the club when preoccupied with hitting the putt harder. The problem is, the tighter your grip, the less feel you’ll have for distance. If you have a light hold, you can really feel the weight of the putterhead as it swings; if you’re strangling it, you simply don’t. Once you have that light, deft hold, focus on maintaining even grip pressure throughout the stoke.
The bottom line is this: more distance comes from a longer stroke, not a burst of speed at impact. As such, keep your grip light so you keep that feel, and elongate the swing as distance dictates.
As you can see, consistent roll is one of, if not the most important aspects of your putting game. As such, we wanted to include a drill you can use to help improve that from our friends at Golf Digest:
TRY TIGER’S OLD DRILL FOR CONSISTENT ROLLS
“Sometimes your stroke can get out of whack, and you start mis-hitting the ball. Here’s a drill Tiger used when we worked together. Create a gate with two tees just wider than your putterhead and hit putts without the club touching either tee (below). If you loop the putterhead to the outside during the stroke, you’ll bump the outside tee. If you swing it to the inside, you’ll bump the inside tee. Go through clean, and you’re hitting the ball in the center of the face. Just like any other shot in golf, if you catch it in the center, with the face square, you’re going to get a good result. That’s what I see the best putters do.”