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part 2 putting 1

Like the full swing, stance and posture are crucial building blocks of a sound putting stroke. Follow these simple steps to a proper setup:

  • Stand behind the ball and draw an imaginary line between the ball and the hole (for a straight putt) or the point where you want the ball to start (breaking putt).
  • After stepping into putting position with your feet together, place the putter behind the ball with the face aimed at the target. Now take your putting grip.
  • Spread your feet so that the outside edges of your shoes are shoulder-width apart. part 2 putting 4You can go a little wider or a little narrower, if that's more comfortable.
  • Ideally, the hips, heels and knees should be parallel to the target line. This is a square setup.
  • The eyes should be directly over or just inside the ball; the hands directly below the shoulders; the forearms and putter shaft forming a straight line to the ball (as viewed from behind, facing the target); the hands should be very slightly ahead of the ball (similar to an iron shot).

For more information on Thomas Golf Putters:

Top Tips on Golf Putter Setup

Top Tips on Golf Putter Setup

If you would like to make more putts, you can't afford to leave any stone unturned. By paying attention to all of the small details that go into your putting stroke, you will be giving the ball the best possible chance to fall in the cup time after time. You are never going to make all of your putts, of course, but you can do your best to give each of your putts a chance. When you hit solid putts on nearly every occasion, you can expect that plenty of them are going to settle into the cup when all is said and done.

Here's the problem with learning to putt properly, however – it is not always an exciting process. Sure, it is exciting to drain a difficult ten-footer for birdie out on the course, but the work that goes into that successful putt is not exactly glamorous. There are plenty of subtle details which need to be ironed out before you can know the satisfaction of having a great putting round. Only the golfers who are willing to settle in on the practice green to work on the finer points are going to wind up mastering this difficult skill.

One of the rather mundane – or even boring – parts of your putting game is your setup. The way you stand over the ball at address, the way you hold the putter, and even the way you aim, all play into your setup. For starters, you need a setup position that is going to make it as easy as possible for you to succeed. You don't want to be making corrections during your stroke in order to get things back on track. Rather, you should be setting up in a way that allows you to make a simple stroke and send the ball into the back of the cup. Simplicity is the name of the game on the greens, and it all starts with the way you prepare to swing the putter.

In addition to setting up in a manner that is conducive to a simple stroke, you also need to be able to stand over the ball in the same way time after time. This is not as easy as it seems. If you never practice your setup, it is likely that you will be inconsistent in this area of the game. Being able to repeat anything time and time again takes practice, and the story is no different here. Rather than just hitting as many putts as you can during each visit to the practice green, take your time and master your setup process. You probably won't fire off as many putts this way, but your practice session will be far more rewarding.

All of the content below is based on a right-handed golfer. If you happen to play left-handed, please take a moment to reverse the directions as necessary.

Three Basic Goals

Three Basic Goals

Later in the article, we will get into some specific instruction on how you can setup properly before each putt. Before we get to that point, however, it is important to outline what you are looking for in a good setup. Specifically, the three basic goals listed below can act as a checklist for your preparation. If you hit on each of these three points, you should be in excellent shape moving forward with the actual putting stroke.

  • Align the putter face with the target line. This is the big goal that you simply can't afford to get wrong. When you prepare to hit a putt, you take a walk around the green and read the slope of the ground in order to select your target line. That is a great start, but it won't do you any good if you fail to actually aim at the target line accurately when you take your stance. The face should be perpendicular to the target line so that a quality stroke will send the ball rolling in precisely the right direction. A regulation golf hole is not large enough to provide much margin for error on this point – you have to be extremely accurate with your aim (and your read) if you hope to make many putts. Later in this article, we will outline a drill that can help you develop your skills in this area.
  • Let your arms hang freely from your shoulders. Here we find a point which is overlooked by many average golfers. When putting, it is ideal for your arms to hang freely from your shoulders in order to promote a smooth and flowing stroke. You want to make the stroke by rocking your shoulders, but that is only going to be possible if your arms are in the right position. To place your body in the right spot, hold the putter head behind the ball with just one hand. Make sure the putter head is resting flat on the green, avoiding a position which places the toe or heel up in the air. Then, with the position of the putter secured, place your hands on the club and form your grip. Finally, you can step into your stance and get ready to putt. By moving your feet into place at the end rather than at the start, you can make sure your body winds up in a spot that allows for a free-flowing stroke. Give this setup procedure a try during your next practice session and you will likely find that you are immediately more comfortable over the ball.
  • Get comfortable. It is extremely important that you feel balanced and comfortable in your stance before starting the putting stroke. One of the big keys when putting is to hold your body perfectly still throughout the stroke – but that will be nearly impossible if you aren't comfortable with your stance. The exact composition of a comfortable stance will change from player to player, but most golfers like to have their knees flexed, their chin up away from their chest, and their backside sticking out slightly. This type of athletic position will help you to hold still while using a simple rocking motion to move the putter back and through.

It is easy to overcomplicate the putting setup, but these three points really sum up everything you need to worry about. If you can build a comfortable stance which allows you to aim perfectly down the target line while your arms hang free from your shoulders, you will be off and running.

Now that you understand the overall goals for your setup, we can move on to the next section which is going to deal with finding the right stance for your game. While there are some fundamentals should be shared across the board, there is still plenty of room for individual style and preference in the putting stance. Only when you find your own sweet spot can you expect to perform nicely on the greens.

Locating the Right Stance for You

Locating the Right Stance for You

If you ever take some time to watch golf on TV, you will notice that the pros use a variety of different stances to roll the ball into the hole. The simple fact that you can see so many different techniques at the top of the game should be proof enough that you don't have to stick to a specific template. As long as you are obeying some basic keys – like those listed in the previous section – you can feel free to be yourself and find a method that works for your game.

To get started, you will want to head out to the practice green with your putter and a handful of golf balls. Find a hole to use for your practice session and set the first ball down on the ground. Take your stance as if you were going to hit the putt, but stop and hold yourself in position for a moment. At this point, you are going to think carefully about your stance. What feels right? What feels wrong? Is there anything that you notice is a bit uncomfortable or awkward? You probably haven't spent any time holding still like this over the golf ball previously, so you may not have ever had a chance to observe your feelings with regard to the stance.

Now that you have taken some mental notes on the status of your stance, you can start making the changes that you see fit. We can't really tell you what changes to make, because you are the only one who will know how your stance feels. It is important to be comfortable, which is why you need to trust your own instincts here and make the adjustments you feel will lead to the best possible outcome.

This is a good time to use the power of video recording to your advantage. If you have a friend with you at the golf course, ask them to record a video of you hitting a few putts with your new stance. Once that video is taken, you can watch it back and make sure everything looks just right. If there are minor parts which seem to be out of alignment, get back to work and then take another video at a later date. With the abundance of technology available to all of us today, it would be silly not to put it to work in the pursuit of a better golf game.

Once you have established what you believe to be a comfortable and reliable stance, the only thing to do is repeat that stance as many times as possible. Spend plenty of time working on your technique on the practice putting green, and always be sure to form a quality stance before each putt. It is easy to fall into bad habits on the practice green by rushing your way through the process. Never get in a hurry when practicing – it is far better to hit fewer shots with greater attention to detail, than rushing for the sake of volume.

When you return to the course for your next round of golf, you will be surprised at how much additional confidence you have on the greens simply thanks to the improvement of your stance. Even if there are other issues still to be worked out in your stroke, or even if you aren't 100% happy with your new stance just yet, you'll still feel better over the ball. Any added confidence on the greens is a good thing, as putting is just as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one.

An Alignment Drill

An Alignment Drill

We have already discussed how properly aligning the putter at address is a critical skill when putting. In this section, we are going to provide you with a handy drill that should help you align both the putter and your body properly each and every time. The work that it takes to complete this drill might feel a bit tedious, but you'll be glad you put in the effort when you see more and more putts start to fall in.

To perform this drill during your next practice session, please follow the steps below.

  • It is important that you find the right section of the practice green to use for this drill. You want to find a flat piece of ground where you can set up an approximately five-foot putt. Of course, you might not be able to find a perfectly flat spot on the green, but do the best you can. Once you find a suitable hole to use in a flat area of the green, place a tee in the ground to mark the point you will putt from during this drill.
  • Place a golf ball down next to that tee and prepare to hit the putt. You shouldn't really need to read the putt, since you have picked out a flat section of the green, but take a look from behind anyway and then step into your stance. Line your putter up to the best of your ability, and stroke the first putt. Regardless of the outcome of this first putt, you are going to move on to the next step in the drill.
  • Set another golf ball down and get ready to putt again. This time, however, you are going to place another tee in the ground, just a few inches in front of your ball. The tee should be perfectly on the putting line between your ball and the cup. Push the tee all the way into the green so that the top of the tee is flush with the top of the turf. When you hit the putt, the ball should be able to roll right over the top of the tee without any trouble.
  • When the tee is in place, stand back up and get ready to putt. Instead of using the hole itself as your guide for aligning the putter, you are going to use that tee which you have placed in the turf. Since the tee is so much closer to your ball than the hole, it should be much easier to aim yourself accurately. Hit a few putts in a row while using the tee as an alignment aid. With any luck, you'll be able to roll your putts right over the tee and into the hole time after time.
  • Feel free to hit as many putts as you would like while setup in this drill. When you are done, take the tee back out of the ground and hit a few more.

So how does this drill apply to your alignment on the course? Simple – you can use this same concept when you are playing on the course in order to improve your aim. While the rules won't allow you to push that tee into the ground in front of your ball, you can pick out a spot on the green to use as an alignment aid. There might be a blade of grass which is slightly longer than the rest, or there may be a discolored spot on the green. Whatever the case, pick out something that can serve as a visual aid when taking your stance. As long as you aim correctly with that intermediate target, you can rest assured that you will be aimed properly with the target line as a whole.

Mental Preparations

Mental Preparations

We have spent this article so far discussing the physical steps you can take to prepare for a putt. However, that discussion leaves an important half of the equation untouched. That is, you need to be prepared for your putts from a mental perspective as well. The mental side of the game is hugely important, and yet it often goes completely ignored. Take time to address your mental preparation in addition to your physical technique and you can reach new levels of performance with the putter.

In this last section, we are going to highlight some key points which relate to the mental side of putting preparation.

  • Set aside the stakes. One of the best habits you can get into is ignoring what is on the line for each individual putt. This might seem impossible at first, but you can get there over time. For example, if you are putting for birdie, you should place no additional emphasis on that putt as compared to a par or bogey attempt. Each putt you face is worth exactly the same on the scorecard – one stroke – so there is no logical reason to treat them any differently. Do your best to put the situation out of your mind when lining up a putt, and instead focus only on doing everything you can to reach a successful outcome.
  • Accept the result. Before you even make your stroke, you need to be okay with whatever outcome should occur. This tip stands in contrast to most golf instruction pieces, which will tell you to always think positively and to expect to make every putt you look at. That type of advice is nonsense. How can you expect to make all of your putts when you know logically that some of them are going to miss? You would be lying to yourself. You can hope to make a large number of your putts, but you are never going to make them all. So, instead of pretending like you can expect all of them to fall, you should instead be okay with a make or miss. By accepting the outcome, you can shift your attention to giving a great effort on the things you can control. You can't necessarily control whether or not the ball falls in, but you can control how you prepare and how you swing the putter. Get a great read, make a quality stroke, and know you have done your best regardless of the outcome.
  • Focus on the task at hand. There are a lot of distractions on the golf course. It might be another golfer in your group trying to have a conversation, or it might be a group on another hole making a lot of noise. Whatever the case, you have to set these things aside when you are getting ready to putt. The best way to dial in your focus is to dedicate your thoughts to nothing but your target line. Once you identify the target for your putt, focus on that alone until the ball is on its way. If you can do a good job of focusing on each putt throughout your round, you will be impressed with the results.

To wrap up this article, we would like to leave you with a single goal – don't hit any putts in your next round without first being properly prepared. That sounds simple, but it is something that most golfers fail to achieve during the average round. Make sure you are prepared both physically and mentally before sending the ball on its way, and you'll see more putts drop in than ever before. Good luck!

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