While the old swing axiom “keep your head down” has been widely debunked, it’s actually sound advice when it comes to putting. In the full swing, it’s literally impossible (and undesirable) to hold your head in the same spot from start to finish. The putting stroke’s slow, short motion, on the other hand, means you can maintain a still head throughout.
You should strive to do just that.
Lifting the head as the ball is struck, called “peeking,” is a common problem among golfers – pros included. While it may seem like a minor, harmless flaw, peeking causes the left shoulder to rise, pulling the arms and hands off track. The result is often a poorly struck putt that wiggles right and short of the hole.
Peeking seems like an easy fault to fix, and it is. A little focus will take you a long way, as will this drill. Start with short putts, about three feet from the hole, and progress outward from there.
- Drop 10 balls on the green to be putted from the same spot.
- Hit all 10 using your normal routine and stroke, and note how many you make.
- Starting over from the same point, pick a spot on the back of the ball and focus intently on it.
- As you stroke through the putt and send the ball on its way, make a conscious effort not to move your eyes from their original focus point. You’ll now be looking at the green.
- From close range, don’t shift your gaze until you hear the ball hit the cup (or until you know it’s stopped should you miss). On longer putts, stay focused until the ball is several feet away.
- Compare results of your second set of putts (no peeking) to the first.
You should notice a decided difference in results when your head remains still. You’ll hit the ball more solidly, make more short ones and get the long ones closer, more consistently.