One of the biggest factors to putting well is dictated in the way a golfer stands to a golf ball in the set up position.
A good, solid start position is more likely to produce a good, solid putting stroke that will up the chances of the ball getting close to, or ending up in the hole. Here are a few points to address two of the main parts of a putting set up - ball position and shoulder position.
In practicing putting, it is a good idea to use two tour sticks to highlight a good set up position. One is positioned parallel to the target line. This line encourages the golfer to set up on the correct line, aiming to the target. Across this line, there is the second tour stick placed making a ‘t’ shape. This stick is used to mark the position of the golf ball in relation to the feet.
When approaching the putt, align the feet with the aiming tour stick then make sure that the feet are positioned nice and wide, just outside of shoulder width apart. This allows the legs to remain stable to produce a repeatable putting stroke with no movement from the lower body.
Once the feet are placed, lean forwards towards the ball from the waist and make sure that the eyes are positioned directly over the golf ball. This position allows a rocking action in the shoulders to produce a pendulum action, encouraging the putter head to swing back and forth through the ball on a straight line. When the eyes are directly over the ball, it is important to check the line of the shoulders. Take the putter and hold it across the shoulders, checking that the shoulder line matches up with the tour stick on the floor. Remember that the putter will swing through the ball on the same line as the shoulders, so if the shoulders are not on line with the hole, the rocking action created by them will take the putter off line through the ball.
Moving on from the alignment of the shoulders, the other important part of the putting set up is the positioning of the golf ball in between the feet. The golf ball in a putt ideally needs to roll straight off the putter face and hug the green on it's way to the hole. This is a ‘true roll’ where the ball will travel the correct distance and roll true to the slopes in the green. To achieve this, the ball needs to be struck on a slight upstroke, which makes the ball roll off the club face with top spin, rather than skid and bounce across the grass.
Using the tour stick that lies across the first stick to create a ‘t’, we can mark the position of the ball in between the feet. Ideally for a putt, the ball needs to be positioned consistently in the front half of the stance, approximately a quarter of the way in from the front foot. As the putting stroke is a rocking motion from the shoulders, the centre of gravity, and therefore, the bottom of the putting stroke will be in the middle of the stance. This means that the putter will swing slightly upward into the ball, producing a good top spin roll off the club face.
Using the tour sticks to highlight the position of the ball in between the feet at set up, aids a more consistent putting stroke and gains a truer roll of the ball on the green.