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Answer Whats more important, putting aim or stroke path

Do you spend 85% of your putting practice time working on face alignment, and the other 15% on your stroke? Probably not. But maybe you should.

Science shows that 85% of a putts initial direction is determined by the angle of the face at impact. That means that if your putter is pointed on line when it meets the ball, the putt is probably going to start where you want it to. And that means its likely to finish where you want it to as well.

Obviously, face position at impact – not address – is the key element. And yes, your stroke does have a say in the matter. But the best way to control your impact angle is to get it right before drawing back the blade.

Heres a simple method for spot-on putting alignment:

  • Read your putt and determine the line.
  • If you expect it to break 10 inches to the left, mentally trace a line from 10 inches right of the hole back to your ball.
  • Choose a spot about 6 inches in front of your ball and directly on the line. Crouch down and aim the balls logo or alignment guide at the spot.
  • Set up to the ball by lining up the putters alignment aid with the balls logo/alignment guide. Youre ready to roll it.

When youre correctly lined up, youve got more margin for error during the stroke. The key is to return the putter blade to its address position – square to the line. Heres a popular drill designed to help you do that:

Use Tee Drill for Square Impact with Putter

Its hard to imagine a simpler task than lining up your putter. Yet most golfers, even pros, struggle to do it correctly on a consistent basis. These tips will improve your aim and help you square the blade while stroking it:

Help with Golf Putter Alignment

Hole Short Putts with Alignment Sticks Drill

Align Eyes Over the Ball to Straighten Out Your Putting

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Not true, per the stats cited above. Lets say your path is inside to out, but the face is square to the line at impact. Theres still a good chance youll stroke it on line. On the other hand, if your stroke is dead-on but the face pointed a couple degrees to the right, the ball will start right with only a tiny correction provided by the stroke path.

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One could argue that your aim doesnt matter unless you return the blade to the same position at impact. Thats true… ish. The better your aim, the better your odds of getting the putter back to that angle during the stroke. And if your aim is spot-on, a tiny waver during the stroke will still put you very close to the correct direction when blade meets ball.

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You can have the touch of a brain surgeon, but its for naught if your alignment is wayward. The area where aim is most critical – inside 10 feet – is also where feel matters least. Focus on speed over line from long distance – outside 20 feet – wile sharpening your short-range aim.