There are two elements to every putt: line and speed. They’re interrelated, of course, since how hard you hit a putt determines how much it will break.
After reading a putt, choosing a line and taking their stance, golfers will often look directly at the hole, then right back to the ball, repeating this once or twice before stroking it. But why would you look at the hole if you’re playing the putt to break? After all, you aren’t aiming at the cup itself, but at a spot on the green.
What you want is to gain a sense of where and how hard to hit the ball before pulling the putter back.
Here’s a method employed by many pros, including Tiger Woods, as they stand over a putt:
- When reading the break, choose an intermediate point where the ball will begin turning toward the cup (often called the break’s “high point”).
- Imagine a line extending from the break point to a spot level with the hole. This is essentially where you will aim.
- Set up to the ball and align the putter with the spot you’ve chosen next to the cup. Look at this spot, then slowly trace a line with your eyes on the green all the way back to your ball.
- Repeat once or twice, then pull the trigger.
By focusing on the entire, actual line of your putt – not the line from your ball to the hole -- you’ll get a better feel for the distance to be covered.
Your mind will integrate this info into the stroke and you’ll make more putts, while the ones you miss will stop consistently closer.