Why do we need good alignment in putting?
The simplest answer is that if you are not aiming in the right direction the ball will not go where you want it to! Therefore, arguably, alignment is the most important part of the golf game. Without correct alignment the golfer will have to manipulate the putting stroke during the motion to guide the ball in the right direction - this is incredibly inconsistent.
How do we get good putting alignment?
There are two keys to putting alignment - preparing to hit the putt (do NOT rush) and the routine of going through a consistent set up to the ball.
Preparation is crucial for hitting consistently good putts. It involves assimilating all the information needed to get the ball rolling at the correct speed and on the right line. One thing you must not do is skip this part of the putt. Too often golfers walk straight up to their putt, have a quick look and whack it at the hole, hoping that the ball will get close to the hole. Remember in golf, every shot counts and a three foot putt is exactly the same on the scorecard as a 250 yard drive. Prepare properly with the following points.
- Mark your golf ball when you get to the green. Clean it and before you put it back, walk around the green and read the putt correctly. This slows you down and allows you to look at the green properly to pick the right line.
- Make sure to walk all of the way around your putt and get down close to the level of the green to read the putt from behind the hole and behind the ball. Doing so gives your brain all the information you need to pick the correct line and increase your chances of holing the putt.
- Pick a blade of grass approximately six inches in front of the golf ball that is on the line that you have chosen. Now replace the ball on the green and align the writing on the golf ball with the blade of grass you have identified. You have now read the green correctly and committed to a line which gives you a great chance of hitting a successful putt.
2. Routine to set up
Just as there is a pre-shot routine for the longer shots in golf, there should also be a routine for the short shots in golf. This removes any nervousness and puts you in the correct aligned position to play the best shot possible. Here is an example routine to set up correctly.
- The putter is positioned behind the ball with the lines on the putter matching up with the lines on the ball and the blade of grass identified previously.
- The feet are set perfectly parallel to the lines on the putter and the ball.
- Lean forward into good posture and position the eyes so that they are directly
over the ball.
- Take hold of the putting grip.
- Take one look at the hole and pull the trigger.
Taking care when setting up to a putt ensures perfect alignment and gives you the best chance of getting that ball into the hole. To do this create, your own routine and stick to it religiously, your putting can only improve.