As a beginner, it’s tempting to spend most of your practice time working on the full swing. No doubt, that area requires a lot of attention.
The road to competent putting is short and simple, by comparison. Better yet, proficient putting will bring down your scores – and build your confidence – more quickly than any other skill. That’s why many experts believe beginners should learn the game from the green back to the tee, not the other way around.
Average golfers lose far too many shots within five feet of the hole. Missing short putts not only hurts your score, it causes frustration that can carry over to the rest of your game.
The most common cause of missing from close range is a tentative stroke. Instead of making a smooth positive stroke, golfers often try to guide the ball into the cup, which creates tension in the hands, arms and shoulders. They either make a quick, jabby stroke or one that decelerates, with the putter slowing down as it approaches the ball.
Good putters, on the other hand, make a relaxed, accelerating stroke. Use these tips and you’ll see immediate results on the green.
When gripping the club, the pressure in your hands should be about 4 or 5 on a scale of 1-10 (where 1 is extra-light, 10 extremely tight). Light to medium pressure alleviates tension.
When practicing short putts, concentrate on making a back-stroke that’s shorter than your follow-through. This will force you to accelerate through the ball.
Moving your head too early throws the putter off line. When stroking a short putt, keep your eyes fixed on the point where the ball was until you hear it hit the hole (or you know it’s rolled past).
Fundamentals are especially critical when putting near the hole. Master this simple aspect of golf and you’ll be well ahead of the game.