Lessons on Putting Fundamentals

How to Putt Lesson 101 for Beginners

by Staff Writer

For those of you just taking up golf you may have already realized how important putting is and that it represents a little less than half the strokes in the game. In order to get off in the right direction I have outlined the key fundamentals that must be incorporated into your putting game to be successful. Although putting styles do differ among professional tour players there are certain fundamentals that they all follow.The primary focus of this golf putting lesson is to highlight what you need to learn early and follow religiously until they become second nature.

Before getting started I would like to address the putting grip. This is probably the one area in golf that differs the most among players because there are different styles that all work. For starting out I recommend you use the reverse overlap grip because it is the most common and very fundamentally sound. It is basically the same as your regular golf grip except your left index wraps around your right hand fingers. The main advantage of this grip is that it encourages your upper body to act as one solid unit and helps reduce your wrists from bending.


Follow a Pre-Putt Routine: Every time you approach the green go through the same steps every time of analyzing your putt. All professional players have a pre-putt routine that they follow even though the steps may vary among players. This evolves surveying the green, determining your target line, where the ball may break and the condition of the green itself. By following the same steps in the same order every time you well feel more confident that you have gathered all the information you need to make a good decision. This also reduces any last minute stress or second guessing before you take your stroke.

Setup and Proper Alignment: After your pre-putt routine the setup and proper body alignment is critical. Once you have determined your target line you want to position your feet, hips and shoulders all parallel to the target line. In addition you want to position your eyes directly over the ball. Without a proper setup you well not become accurate and your ball well travel in the wrong path.

Form a “V” Shape with Your Upper Body: A key fundamental is that your upper body forms a “V” shape with your shoulders and arms and they all move together in unity. The putting stroke should mimic the pendulum movement of a clock. Your shoulders will rotate during your stroke but your head must be stable and your eyes always focused on the ball. The amount of speed that you well apply to the ball well be based on the movement of your upper body. This upper body movement and the length of your stroke is what controls your distance. You want to develop a smooth pace to your stroke with the ultimate goal of keeping your putter head on the target line and square to the ball.

Maintain a Stationary Lower Body: Keep your hips, legs and feet all stable during your stroke. Any small movement or shifting will throw your putt off course or may add unnecessary power to your swing.

Keep Your Head Down and Eyes Over the Ball: This is probably the number one bad habit of beginners in that they have a tendency to look up too soon to see where their putt is going. You must keep your head down and steady with your eyes focused directly over the ball in order to achieve positive results in putting. A good habit to follow is to count to two after your entire stroke is completed before looking up .Legendary golfer Gary Player says this is probably the number one important aspect to good putting. He goes on to say that he does not look up but simply listens to whether or not the ball has gone in.

Keep Your Wrists From Bending: Any bending, flexing or turning on the wrists will result in poor accuracy and lack of distance control. Beginners also have a tendency to apply speed to the ball by turning their wrists and then snapping them back in place. You well not be able to develop consistency with distance and also not be able to keep the putter head square during impact.

Visualize Your Putt: Most professional PGA players well use some type of visualization technique. Once you are set up and taking a few practices putts, close your eyes briefly for a moment and visualize in your mind the putt going in. This should be the last positive thought on your mind right before you take your actual putt. Remove any negativity from your thoughts and above all do not second guess yourself or start to reanalyze your putt. If any of these thoughts surface then step away and clear your thoughts.

Further recommendations for beginners starting out are to practice a lot of short three foot putts. By sinking a lot of short putts this will send a positive message to your subconscious and help build self confidence. Secondly for longer putts, say fifteen feet or more, concentrate more on distance then on accuracy. Spend more time on the correct distance and speed rather than trying to sink a long putt. If it happens then great but your goal on long putts should be to get close enough on your second putt in order to two putt the hole. Even for professionals the percentages for long puts is not that high.

By simply incorporating these seven key putting fundamentals early on you well be able to develop a very successful putting game. Try not to over analyze your game too much early on but to simply learn the basics first. Learning the basics first is the best golf putting lesson for you to master.

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