Keep your lower body steady.

When I was based in a Golf Outlet in Melbourne many golfers would come in and ask for a heavy putter. “I can’t get my putts up to the hole” they would say. “Before you do that let me look at your putting stroke.” I would ask. And I tell you that every single golfer who came in looking for a heavy putter either rotated their hips while putting or slid their hips towards the target (lateral shift) or a combination of both.

Once they were alerted to this problem and, within a few putts, they were fixed. They didn’t need a heavy putter after all. They saved themselves $300 -$400 and went away with a more consistent stroke.

The great putting analyst Geoff Mangum says to use your knees to keep those hips steady. He’s right … it works.

  • Reading the greens.

    Let’s say that you have hit your ball onto the green and it finished 20’ below the hole on a green that slopes gently from back to front.

    Start reading the green from 50 metres out. Is the green shaded? Exposed to bright sunlight and wind? Is it a new green? Does it look lush or dried out?

    Walk straight up to the front of the green and look at slope of the green. Now walk around to the side of the green and park your buggy…closest to the next tee of course. Look at your putt from that side. Walk to the top side of the green and see what you can detect. Now look from the other side for a quick look. Then down to your ball to mark it and clean it.

    You will now have circumnavigated the green and seen your putt from four different angles. This is done very quickly and does not hold up play. With practice you’ll do this habitually and pick up all the clues that you’ll need to work out the line of the putt.

  • Practice Putting Strokes.

    Stand about two metres behind the ball and bend over so that your eyes are about the same height as they would be when you are putting. Let your eyes move from the ball to the hole and back again. Keep doing this as this gives your brain information about the putt that you are about to encounter. At the same time start swinging your putter back and forth across your body. Your brain will be working out the size of the swing you will need for the putt and also be tuning in your usual tempo.

    You won’t need any practice putting strokes beside the ball....you will have done them already…and with the added benefit of better geometry and binocular vision from behind the ball.

  • Breathe

    Start your breathing routine once you have put the sole of the putter on the ground behind the putter. Breathe in rhythmically as you continue your aiming process and start exhaling as you have your last look at the hole. As you bring your eyes back to the ball you will be exhaling. When you have exhaled completely begin your putting stroke. This breathing process is more important than you can imagine.

  • Eyes over the Putter

    When you have placed the sole of the putter on the ground behind the ball move your head so that the back of your head is parallel to the ground. Move your eyes so that they are directly over the putter. From here move the putter around until it is lined up to where you want to putt and then move your body into position. Take one last look at the hole, bring your eyes back to the ball then putt.

    You may have heard that tour pros have their eyes one inch inside the line and one inch back. You can do that if you wish…but only after you have used eyes over the putter to line up the putter face to where you want to putt. I prefer that you keep your eyes over the putter throughout the stroke. Your brain has less work to do, the geometry is better and the brain can get on with its main task of distance control.

  • The Putting Process

    Place the sole of the putter flat on the ground just back from the ball. Bend your neck so that the back of your head is parallel to the ground. Move your head so that your eyes are over the putter. Adjust the putter face so that it is 90? to the intended start line of your putt. Once you have done that, and not before, then set your feet and your body.

    Most golfers set their body first then swivel the putter around. This is a major cause of inconsistent putting. Set the putter first, body last. Always.

    Begin your breathing process as your eyes move from ball to the target and back again. When you have exhaled completely, putt.

  • Your Usual Pace

    No matter how long or short your putt is, no matter if it is for an eagle, a birdie, a much needed par to stop the bogey train or a putt to save the money, always putt with your usual pace.

    This what the great putters do. This putting with your usual pace is a difficult concept but once you have adopted it you’ll putt so much better. You’ll never charge a putt nor be tempted to hit a putt harder to cut out some of the break. You’ll have less three putts and more tap ins.

    Better still, once you are a convert to your usual pace, you’ll understand that with your usual pace there is only one speed for the ball to enter the hole and that means there is one and only one start line for every putt.

    Knowing the speed at which the ball is going to enter the hole, you work back from the hole to the ball to find the start line for your putt.

    This is a much better approach than saying that there is a break of two inches and then trying to figure out how hard to stroke the ball. And you’d be doing this for every putt on the course.

    You’ll be much better offto putt with your usual pace.

    Good luck with your putting. There is a bucket load more to learn about putting. The good news is that with greater understanding your putting will become more natural and automatic.

Kevin O’Neill
Inventor of the DOT Putter