How To Master Your Putting Stroke Process

    Creating a repeatable putting stroke is going to help you perform more consistently on the greens. It is not, however, going to take you all the way to where you want to go. In order to arrive at a place where you can putt consistently from day to day, you need to have a process in place as well. What do we mean by ‘process’? You need to have a plan for how you are going to approach each putt, and you need to execute that plan perfectly. Most amateur golfers don’t bother to put together a specific process for their putts, and they pay the price for that oversight.

    When creating a process that you will use prior to each putt, you should remember that there is room for individual preference on this task. You don’t need to copy the process of another player precisely, as long as you check off a few important steps. The list below highlights three steps that should be included in every golfer’s pre-putt process.

  • A careful read. This one should go without saying. If you are going to make putts, you need to get good reads. You should be reading your putts from both ends – that means taking a look from behind the hole as well as from behind the ball. It is common for golfers to skip the step of viewing their putts from behind the hole, but this may actually be the most important view of all. It shouldn’t take long to walk down toward the hole in order to get a good view, and you may be able to work on your read while others are getting ready to hit their putts. If you are a beginning golfer, you might struggle to read greens properly, but that’s okay. This is one of those skills that is sure to improve over time as you gain experience. Stick with it, learn from your mistakes, and soon enough you’ll be an excellent green reader.
  • A practice stroke. You don’t want to be the player who holds up the group by standing on the green making one practice stroke after the next. At the same time, you do want to make sure your stroke is ready for the challenge of rolling the ball up to the cup. The answer is to make just a single practice stroke, or maybe two at the most. This can be done in just a few seconds, so you really won’t be slowing down the pace of play. Consider standing a few feet behind the ball when making your practice strokes so you can visualize the ball rolling down your target line and into the cup. As you make your practice stroke, focus on one or two mechanical keys to make sure your stroke is solid and ready to go.
  • An efficient start. One of the often-overlooked mistakes made by amateur golfers when getting ready to hit their putts is taking too much time over the ball before starting the stroke. Many golfers ‘freeze’ over the ball – in other words, they build their stance and then get stuck there, waiting to actually hit the putt. There is likely to be tension developed in your body while you wait to hit the putt, and that tension is going to make it hard to produce a nice roll. As a good rule of thumb, try using the movement of your eyes to trigger the start of your putting motion. Once you get over the ball, take one look up at the cup and then move your eyes back down to the ball. As soon as your eyes return to the ball, put the putter in motion. If you can get into this habit, you’ll be able to start each putt without worrying about getting stuck over the ball.
  • It is up to you to develop a process that suits your needs on the greens. As you work on bringing it together, do your best to include each of the three keys above. Of course, once you design your process, be sure to practice it regularly to make it as comfortable as possible.