Golf is a complex game. For those starting out, it brings with it an assortment of rules and customs that might overwhelm anyone lacking experience. Being able to hit the golf ball with your driver and iron is a good place to start, but those shots will amount to nothing if you aren’t able to putt the ball into the hole.
Below, we’re going to be providing you with a step-by-step guide to turn you into a putting pro. You’ll learn how to achieve the correct body posture, shave strokes off your game, and bid farewell to a high handicap for good. In other words, there’s no-frills here, just knowledgeable advice that you can put into practice immediately after reading.
How to putt a golf ball properly step by step:
Step 1: Read the green
When it comes to golf, there’s always going to be techniques to perfect and new elements to learn. However, the ability to read the green and visualize the line of a putt is vital to your success and is something you need to learn sooner rather than later. There’s no exact science to green reading, it’s just something that you need to train your mind’s eye to see. Don’t sweat it, there are plenty of approaches and methods you can try out, here is our favorite:
Picture taking a glass of water onto the green and pouring it out in the spot you’re going to be taking your shot. Which way would the water flow? The direction in which the water would flow is the direction your ball will travel. The next part is to think about how fast or slow the water would flow in that direction, and make a judgment call on how much force you need to put into your swing.
Step 2: Mark the ball
There is nothing in the Rules of Golf that states all players should mark or put an identifier on their golf balls, but it is strongly recommended. Rule 6.3b reads that players should, “put an identifying mark on the ball to be played.” In other words, it’s seen as good golf etiquette.
So, after you’ve analyzed the green, now is a good time to mark the ball. Lots of golfers choose to put a little dot on their ball so that they know it is theirs by using a sharpie pen or colored marker.
There are plenty of reasons why we have to mark our golf balls, the main one being so that you are able to quickly identify it and get it out of the way so that other players can putt their own balls with no obstructions. Another reason to mark the ball on the green is so that you know you have used it, and are able to go ahead and replace it in a quick and strategic manner.
Step 3: Set up your stance
Now, it’s time to nail your stance! There’s no, ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to this, it very much depends on what feels natural and comfortable to you. For guidance, follows the steps below:
Roll your shoulders, relax and stand with your feet placed side by side, directly behind your golf ball
When you’ve comfortably got there, take small steps either side with both of your feet until they are shoulder-width apart, and the golf ball is perfectly positioned in between both feet
Then, bend your knees slightly and gently push forward through your hips until your eyes are directly positioned above the ball and you can see it clearly
Remember, it’s not time to take your shot just yet as you’re just setting up your stance, so allow your arms to relax by your sides, don’t hunch up your shoulders and take some time to analyze the shot
Like we said, setting up your stance is going to vary depending on a variety of variables, including your natural posture, what feels good to you, and the area of the course you’re in. The above steps are simply an idea of what setup should look like, you’re free to customize and change the steps as you see fit.
Step 4: Alignment and address
In golf, the address is a term used to describe when a player takes their stance and gets ready to place the golf club head behind the ball, preparing to take their shot.
Before you are able to align yourself to hit a putt you have to first choose a clear target or location that you can aim at. Once you have identified this, the next step is to align your golf ball with your target.
The next step is to align your putter head with the line on your golf ball. The majority of putters feature lines or other visual guides that can be found on the top of the putter head so that you can see them when addressing the ball. Get into your stance, place your putter behind the ball and ensure that the lines on your putter are aligned with the line on your golf ball. Once the putter head is aligned it is time for you to align your body and get set up into your stance, as we discussed in step 3.
Step 5: Putt the ball
Believe it or not, when it comes down to putting the ball, the shoulders make all the difference. Don’t make the rookie mistake of believing that power is generated from the hands and arms, because this is incorrect. When you putt the ball, the main force of power is taken from the shoulders, in something which many golfers refer to as the ‘shoulder roll’.
If you’re a beginner, a great method to follow is the pendulum analogy. At address, the shoulders will pull the putter back, just like the way a pendulum swings. At the peak of the backstroke, the weight of the putter will shift forwards and back towards the ball. The shoulders will then continue to power through the stroke, resulting in a smooth putting stroke.
Always remember that putting strokes are primarily powered by the shoulders. Paired with the pendulum analogy, you’ll find yourself seeing better consistency, smoother impacts,
and better speed control.
There’s no ‘wrong’ way to putt the ball, and as you progress and gain experience, you’ll find your technique changing as you become a more experienced player. However, if you’re going to be putting your ball within 10 feet, it’s important to keep your eyes fixed on the ball, not the hole you’re trying to get it in. If you avert your eyes, move your head or look up, you’ll throw yourself off and are more likely to make the ball veer off the projected line.
Body posture tips for improving overall putting accuracy:
This first pointer is going to differ if you’re a left-handed golfer, so just switch it around accordingly. When aligning yourself and readying your stance at address, to improve your accuracy, try to position your left eye directly over the ball. By doing so, you’ll be able to better see the line of the putt and make a far more successful shot.
When addressing the ball, we recommend positioning your hands slightly in front of the golf ball. By doing so, this will make the shaft naturally lean forward. It is by no means an exact science, so you might find that you get better results by having your hands ahead by just an inch, or you might find that several inches ahead will work better for you. It promotes a forward rolling ball free from a backspin which means that the ball won’t skid or veer off-path, allowing you to have better control.
Shoulders, arms and legs
When putting, it’s very important to remember that only your shoulders and arms should be moving. Your wrists and head should have little to no movement, and your eyes should be fixed on the spot you’ve placed your ball, even after it has been hit (especially for those short putts). Your legs should be strong still and, to if you do have shaky wrists, you can put a thicker grip on your putter to help counteract this.
So, there you have it. We hope that this guide has given you plenty of insight and guidance on how to putt your ball correctly, as well as giving you more confidence to take to the greens. If you’re going to take anything from this article, try to remember the basics. Get a feel for the greens, hone your setup stance, and make sure that you, the clubface and the ball are all in alignment. If anything, make sure that each stroke is powered by your shoulders. This will go in a long way in getting your technique off to a flying start.
Most golf courses have putting greens, which will allow you to practice putting on a putting green that emulates the same green you will find on the golf course. This is a useful way to get a feel for the greens before the game starts, and will allow you to get an understanding for the playing conditions, such as the weather.
Remember, you can always come back and read this guide if you forget certain parts or want to brush up on your knowledge. Don’t get discouraged if you find yourself making mistakes, either. There’s always room for improvement in golf, even the top golfing stars will tell you that. Just remember to enjoy yourself and have fun, the technique will come along with time. So, what are you waiting for? Get out on those greens and put all we’ve discussed today in practice!