The fastest way to save strokes on the golf course is on the putting green. Players often spend an inordinate amount of time on the tee with practice swings, picking a target, completing their pre shot routine and the swing itself. Even when it comes to practice, players spend far more time banging balls on the range but relatively little time on getting to know and familiarizing themselves with reading greens and the putting process.
This season focus on pace, surveying each green you are going to putt on and on mastering a pre putt routine. Work on the following:
1. Three putts turn a par into a bogie far too quickly. To avoid the dreaded 3 jack focus on pace. Pace is more important than line. A ball with bad pace can easily leave you 4 feet by or 4 feet short. A putt slightly off line with good pace will cause you far less headaches and could still be a tap in. Focus on dying the ball into the cup not ramming it into the back. You will need to take into account more break. Your misses will leave you a lot closer to the cup guaranteed.
2. To get a good sense of how a ball will react to the hole it is imperative to look at the whole green and to look at your putt from multiple angles.
3. As you walk up to the green look for high sides, contours, how it slopes and for drains. Drains will be placed on the low side and will help you determine which way the ball will break.
4. Take a walk around the green starting from behind your ball. Walk keeping your eyes on the hole the entire time looking for slope. Stand directly opposite your ball and look from behind the ball. Get low to get a better perspective.
5. Once you have completed the circle, stand behind the ball and pick a target. Once the target is determined place your marker behind your ball and line up the ball to the apex of the break when dying it in the cup. Use the words on the ball as a line or draw a straight line on it with a Sharpie.
6. Stand behind the ball again to make sure it is on your target line and visualize the ball rolling into the hole and back to you. See that line. Make any adjustments to your target you need to after that last look to line it up, ensuring your marker is behind your ball.
7. Stand beside the ball and rock shoulders back and forth the whole time looking at the hole to get a sense of pace. Use this time to get a feel for creating a pendulum like swing from the shoulders and taking hands and wrists out of the equation.
8. Line the alignment mark on the putter up with the line on the ball and look at the hole one last time. Trust you have picked the right line and focus now on rolling the ball to the target, not hitting it.
9. Roll the ball on pace and keep eyes looking at spot ball occupied for a few more seconds. This will prevent you from sneaking a peak and inadvertently turning your shoulders sending the putt off line. Think of moving the back of your lead hand towards the target and keeping the putter head low.
10. Hold putter out…don’t recoil. No body English. Be professional
*Note the first 5 steps should happen while your playing partners are preparing for their putts. This should be a speedy process to not affect the pace of play.
Focus on pace, get into a routine, be observant of the greens…and count on holing more putts this season!
By: Lisa “Longball” Vlooswyk
Lisa is the 7-Time Canadian Long Drive Champion for women, a Golf Entertainer and Motivational Speaker. Lisa can be reached through Claudio DeMarch (the Traveling Golfer) at firstname.lastname@example.org.