Teaching professionals always get asked for tips to improve - particularly to improve putting. Here are the top three tips for senior golfers to improve their putting fast.
1. Keep the eyes directly over the top of the golf ball.
When the eyes are directly over the top of the golf ball, a pendulum style stroke is promoted which allows the putter to swing in a straight line backwards and forwards through the ball. This style of stroke is consistent in both accuracy and distance control for two reasons:
a) The putter face will always point to the target through the hitting area.
b) The putter is controlled with the big muscles of the shoulders and so the ability to control the length of the swing is easier.
To keep the eyes directly over the top of the ball, position two clubs or alignment sticks, so that they point at the target, are parallel to each other and approximately a putter's head width apart. Stand nice and close to the ball, bend from the hips and lower the hands until the eyes are directly in between these two sticks and over the golf ball. To double check whether the eyes are over the golf ball grab a normal CD from home, pop it on the floor shiny side up and put the golf ball in the hole in the middle. Now get yourself into position and you should be able to see the reflection of your eyes in the CD. If not manoeuvre your posture and distance from the ball until you can.
Hit a few putts and if your eyes are directly over the ball and stay there through the putting stroke the putter head should swing backwards and forwards in between the two sticks or clubs without touching them.
2. Maintain head position through the putting stroke.
To be able to achieve this point you must have the first point in place - getting the eyes over the golf ball. Once this is achieved keeping the head still and in position is paramount. This provides the stability needed to perform a consistent and reliable action for perfect putting. If the head moves at any point during the stroke the putter head will also move off line providing inconsistency and inaccuracy.
The best way to keep the head still is to use Nick Faldo's best golf tip: "listen for the ball to drop into the hole." Here Nick Faldo would strike the putt and then keep looking down at where the ball was until he heard the ball drop into the hole. Even if he missed he would still stay looking down until he counted to five. One other way to maintain head position is to set up, close your eyes and strike the putt. This removes any temptation to look and see where the ball has gone. Just make sure that you only do this in practice though!!
3. Make the hands passive during the stroke.
The biggest mistake that golfers make when putting is to use the wrists. If the wrists are used, a flicking action occurs and club face control is lost. This means that the golfer is not in control and the club face can equally be open or closed during impact with the ball which will produce off line putts.
To keep the wrists still and passive throughout the putting stroke take your grip on the putter three inches lower than you normally would. Take an extra golf ball and position it in-between the top wrist (left for right handed golfers) and the golf grip. Make sure the ball is in the crease of the wrist. Now take a putt as normal, swing from the shoulders and aim to keep the wrists as still as possible. If the wrists stay still the ball will stay in position throughout the motion. If the wrists breakdown and bend, the ball will fall to the floor. This is an easy way to check whether the hands are passive or are being used too much.
Make sure to practice these three simple tips to quickly improve your putting and drop shots from your score.