Staying Disciplined With Your Eyes for Best Putting Results

Just by reading the title of this section, you can probably guess what it is all about. When it comes to using your eyes properly while putting, nothing is quite as important as simply keeping your eye on the ball. That’s right – it was probably the first tip you ever received as a golfer, but it is still important to this day. If you can have the discipline on the greens to keep your eyes on the ball until it rolls away, your putting will quickly improve.

On the surface, it sounds tremendously easy to just keep your eyes on the ball while you swing your putter. Of course, you already know that there is nothing easy about it. Your mind will be begging your eyes to look up early, in order to see the ball as quickly as possible. Even though watching the ball roll will do nothing to help it find the bottom of the cup, it is human nature to be curious. You want to know if the putt is going to go in, and you don’t want to wait even a moment longer for that information. Sadly, if you do give in and look up early, your chances of making the putt will decrease significantly.

Looking up early isn’t a problem because you lose sight of the ball – in fact, you could probably putt pretty well with your eyes closed. The real problem is that moving your eyes is likely going to cause your head and shoulders to move as well. This will have an impact on the path of the putter as it swings, and negative results will be right around the corner. In the end, keeping your eyes on the ball is important mostly because it stabilizes the top of your body, helping you to make a quality stroke all the way through impact.

If you have trouble keeping your eyes on the ball while putting, we hope the following tips will help –

  • Practice with one eye open. This is a handy little drill that can help break you of the habit of looking up before the ball has been struck. While hitting short putts on the practice green, try closing your left eye during the stroke. For a right-handed golfer, this is probably going to take away the ability to see the hole, while still allowing you to look at the ball. Since you can’t see much to your left anyway, you shouldn’t be as tempted to look up prematurely. If you hit a few putts this way during each practice session, you might find that you aren’t as tempted to look up even when both eyes are open.
  • Pick a specific spot on the ball. Your tendency to look up early may be solved by giving your mind something to focus on during the stroke. Try drawing something unique on your golf ball and then focus on that spot with your eyes as you putt. Instead of just staring down blankly, you will have a specific point that you can use to hold your gaze. And, since you will be on the putting green, you can always be sure to replace the ball with your drawing facing up, so you can easily see it from address.
  • Just listen. Most of the time, the issue of looking up early is only a problem on short putts. You won’t be nearly as tempted on long putts, since the ball has a significant distance to roll before it arrives at the cup anyway. When facing a short putt, consider deciding before the putt that you simply aren’t going to look up at all. You will just make the stroke, keeping your eyes down the entire time, and you’ll listen for whether or not the ball fell in. Every golfer loves the sound that the ball makes when it rattles around the bottom of the cup, and it will be even sweeter when you aren’t watching. The only downside to this method is you might not be able to tell which side you missed on, if you do happen to miss. Of course, if you are playing with other golfers, they can always fill you in on exactly what happened.

Learning how to control your eyes during the stroke will go a long way toward making you a better putter. This can be a difficult issue to get over, however, so be patient with yourself during the process. Take notice of each time that you do fall into the trap of looking up early and ask yourself why it happened. Were you nervous, or maybe just not paying attention to your fundamentals? Keep learning from your mistakes and gradually reduce the frequency with which this mistake occurs.

Final Tips

To round out our discussion on the best ways you can use your eyes while putting, please check out the following tips.

  • Start looking early. You can start to lay the groundwork for your read well before you ever get up to the green. In fact, as soon as your ball lands on the putting surface, you can begin the examination. As you walk up the fairway, try to identify both the highest and lowest point around the green. In general, you can expect your putt to trend in the same direction as a line drawn from the high point to the low point. It is often easier to get this big-picture read from farther away, where you can take a nice overview of the green complex. Obviously, there are exceptions to this general concept, so the power of this kind of read only goes so far.
  • Watch for changes in the grass. Believe it or not, you can actually see changes in the length of the grass as your round progresses. If you are playing on a warm day, for example, the grass is likely to grow at least marginally during the 4+ hours that you are on the course. Keep a close eye on the putting surfaces and make it a point you give your putts a little extra speed as you see the blades of grass start to get longer.
  • Visualize your putt rolling into the hole. Okay – so we are cheating a little bit on this one. While visualization happens in your mind rather than in what you can actually see in front of you, you’ll still use your eyes as part of the exercise. Stand behind the ball and use your eyes to track the intended path of your putt from the current location of the ball all the way to the cup. If you create a clear picture in your mind, you may find that your confidence is boosted as a result of already ‘seeing’ the ball go in.

Your eyes play an important role in every single one of your putts. We hope the tips in this article will help you use your eyes more effectively as you work on improving your skill on the greens. Whether it is getting a great read, positioning your eyes over the ball properly, or just keeping your eyes on the ball during the stroke, there are many ways you can benefit in the long run. Remember, all progress in golf needs to be made in practice before it will show up on the course. Good luck!