5 Keys to Putt Better Now

A typical 18 hole, Par 72 golf course will feature the following combination of holes:10 Par 4’s = 40 strokes
4 Par 5’s = 20 strokes
4 Par 3’s = 12 strokesFurthermore, if we break down the number of shots per hole by type, you get the following statistics:Drive – 18 strokes (25% of total), Includes all shots made from a teeing area.
Approach – 18 strokes (25% of total), includes all shots made to hit the green as well as lay-up shots on the Par 5’s.
Putts – 36 strokes (50% of total), includes all shots made on the green or putting surface.Clearly, if putting accounts for over half of the strokes made in a typical round of golf, then we need to start paying more attention to that part of our games. Let’s start with these 5 Keys to Putt Better Now and get started down the path to lower scores:1. Establish a Pre-Putt Routine – Anyone who has watched professional golfers on television have seen that there are numerous different pre-putt routines. But at a minimum, every golfer should evaluate the following conditions prior to each and every putt:a. Speed of the greenb. Slope of the greenc. Check your line and remove any loose impediments and repair any ball marks.

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d. Take a quick look from behind the hole opposite the side your ball is on, halfway between your ball and the hole, and from behind your ball.Again, these are the minimum conditions that I evaluate and you may add or delete certain conditions as you develop your own pre-putt routine. Remember to maintain the pace of play as many of these steps can be performed while your partners play or as you walk onto the green. At no time should you distract your partners from their shots nor should you allow your pre-putt routine to exceed 1 – 2 minutes. By employing your own pre-putt routine prior to every putt, you should start to shave a few strokes off your score.2. Take Careful Aim – Following your pre-putt routine, make sure to take careful aim down your intended putting line or all of your previous efforts will be for naught. Utilize a mark on the green about 4 – 6 inches in front of your ball and along your intended line of putt. You may choose to align a mark on your ball as most golf balls nowadays are pre-printed with an alignment aid, or you can add your own mark. Most putters also have an alignment aid as well, so use all of the tools available to ensure that you’re aimed down the line you have chosen. When all three of these marks are aligned properly, your chances of holing more putts will undoubtedly increase.3. Develop a Repeatable Putting Stroke – As they say, “Practice Makes Perfect.” Putts account for half the strokes in a typical 18 hole round of golf, so it seems that it would go without saying that we should spend half of our practice time putting. How many of you weekend golfers, myself included, actually devote enough practice time to putting?When you practice putting, make sure to incorporate your pre-putt routine on every putt with some reason. Don’t just rapid fire putts one after another like most golfers I see on the practice green. Take your time to carefully line up each shot.Putting practice should follow some kind of routine. Start from the longest distance you believe you’ll face out on the course and work your way in towards the hole. Typically, the majority of putts you’ll face will be within 15 – 20 feet or less so concentrate on those ranges. Also, set some sort of goal for each length of putt you attempt. For instance, on longer putts I putt three balls and have to two putt each one before I move on to a new distance. For shorter putts, I try to make all three balls in one putt before moving on.

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4. Observe Your Partners Putt – Watch your other playing partners putt in order to gain valuable insight as to how your putt may perform. Even if your putt is not on the same line as theirs, information such as speed of the green can be gained. Often, by watching other players putt can be some of the best information you can obtain.5. Alleviate Tension – Whether you’re putting for the win on the 72nd hole of The Masters, or hovering over a three-footer for birdie at your home course, tension will be present. How we deal with that tension will ultimately be the deciding factor in our success. You’ve put in a lot of work getting to this point, so don’t let tension ruin your putting stroke. As with any shot in golf, take a few practice swings / putts to alleviate any tension that may have built up while you’ve been waiting to play. Also, remember not to choke the grip of your putter as this is a sure way to translate tension into your shot.By employing the previous 5 Keys to Putt Better Now, you should be able to reduce the number of putts you make per round. We’ll talk more about putting in future articles and get more in depth on how to read the greens, etc…