You may have previously heard putting called "the game within the game," and for good reason. Learning how to putt like a pro can greatly improve your final score. If you're a beginner, one of the first steps toward mastering the technique is becoming familiar with putting alignment. Read on to learn how to line up putts and to get our best putter alignment tips to up your game.
The Importance of Proper Putting Alignment
So why is putt alignment so important? The truth is that how you line up your putts has a big impact on accuracy, and when you do it correctly every time, you'll play the greens more consistently.
Putting involves more than just maintaining the proper form. Your eyes also have an important role to play and can make all the difference when you're learning how to putt straight. If your head position is too far forward, the putt will look correct on the left side. On the other hand, when your eyes are too far back in relation to the ball, the putt will seem ideally positioned on the left.
The optimal eye position varies from person to person, so it takes some practice and experimentation to find the right alignment for you. Using a putting mirror can help shorten the learning curve and allow you to identify your eye position sweet spot.
Grip and Setup for Optimal Alignment
To get your body into the proper alignment for a putt, follow these steps:
- Aim your putter face toward your target.
- Position your feet about 2.25 to 2.75" away from the inside edge of the ball. Adopt a stance that is comfortable and easy for you to maintain. You can have your feet flared, perfectly parallel or turned in. Just pick what feels right for you and then stick to it.
- Next, choose the grip that you prefer. Check out our article on how to hold a golf club for tips on how to do this.
- Hold the club out in front of you so that the shaft is an extension of your arms. Move your elbows together until they touch.
- Tilt forward at the waist, keeping your arms in position and continue bending until your putter hits the ground.
Avoid Common Putting Alignment Mistakes
The following are some common mistakes that beginners make when learning how to line up a putt and what you can do to correct them.
- Positioning the ball too far forward: Line the ball up with the buttons of your golf shirt while distributing your weight evenly across both feet.
- Hands positioned behind the ball: Place the grip of your putter slightly in front of the ball.
- Over-rotating the face: Turn your lead hand so that the knuckles are slightly underneath the shaft.
- Strike not hitting in an upward motion: Position your lead shoulder slightly higher than your trail shoulder.
Utilizing Visual Alignment Aids for Putting
As a beginner, visual aids can help you master putter alignment. There are a variety of aids to choose from, including single lines, triple lines, single dots and triple dots.
Single dot and line aids allow you to better visualize the top line, giving you a reference point when aligning your body. Triple dot and line designs draw inspiration from the technology that pilots rely on to land airplanes, and some golfers find that it improves accuracy.
Developing a Consistent Pre-Putting Routine
As previously mentioned, consistency is essential for putter alignment. When you go through the same steps in the same order each time, you develop muscle memory, making it easier to get into the proper alignment. In addition, executing a consistent pre-putting routine can help you feel more confident, which is important because golf is as much a mental sport as it is a physical one.
To create your personalized routine, use the steps outlined above as a starting point. Personalize your foot position and grip so that you take up a stance that is comfortable and easy for you to achieve. Then, employ the same routine each time that you make a practice stroke.
If you find that something isn't working, modify one step in your routine and then stick to your new process. Continue to refine by making one change at a time, mastering a new routine before you make any further changes.
Reading the Greens for Putting Alignment
When lining up your putt, the hole isn't always the best target. Depending on the slope of the green, the ball may break in one direction or another. Reading the greens as you line up your putt will help you determine where to aim.
To do so, first look at the overall slope of the green. Is the left side higher than the right or vice versa? Is the slope toward you or away from you? This will tell you the general break of the course.
Next, bend down and look for any irregularities in the greens like humps or bumps that might impact your shot. This will help you identify any local breaks between you and the hole.
By considering both the general and local break, you can determine where to aim the ball to get it to roll downhill into the hole.
Perfecting Putting Alignment Through Practice Drills
When it comes to putting alignment, practice makes perfect. To develop your skills try:
- Straight putt drills to master the alignment and stroke mechanics
- Putting games to make your practice more enjoyable
- Long-distance putt drills to master alignment and distance control
No matter what type of drills you're doing, be sure to go through your pre-putting routine each time.
Mental Focus and Confidence in Putting Alignment
As previously mentioned, your state of mind can impact your play. To keep your nerves at bay, take slow, deep breaths as you go through your pre-putting routine. Once you're properly aligned, stop for a moment and visualize sinking the ball to boost your confidence. Focus on your breathing, noticing how your breath moves through your body. Only make the putt once you feel calm and centered.
Get Ready to Perfect Your Putt
Mastering the proper alignment, creating a routine and practicing regularly can greatly improve your performance on the green and your overall score. Check out our blog for more tips on putting and golfing, and remember that the condition of your putter matters, too. Keep yours scratch-free and ready to play with putter headcovers from Devereux. Shop the headcover collection now to find a stylish option to protect your putter on the go.