No one expects to make 10-foot putts all the time. Probably the major reason we don’t make as many putts as can be made is that we don’t align ourselves properly. The read was right, the pace was right, but the ball didn’t go in because we didn’t set up in the right direction. Here’s an easy way to get this fundamental down pat.
Any golf ball manufactured today has an arrow drawn on it, off to the side of the manufacturer’s label. This is an alignment arrow. You see the pros lining up their ball with this arrow, even on short putts. It allows the player to see the starting line of the putt better, and provides a baseline on which to square the putterface and align their stance.
Using that arrow is a simple matter, but not a haphazard one. Here’s a procedure that works.
Your ball marker is on the green, and it’s your turn to putt. Put the ball down in front of the marker with the arrow pointing directly at the hole, and leave the marker there. Read your putt. Bend down, pick up the ball, and hold it out at arm’s length so the arrow points along the line you want the ball to start on. No carefully lower your arm so the arrow stays pointing along that line, and place the ball on the ground in front of the marker.
Stand up and step back from the ball. Check to see that the arrow is pointing where you want it to. Correct if necessary. Now you can pick up the marker and take your putting stance. Align your putterface square to the arrow and step into your stance, in that order.
Here are three bonus tips that will help you sink that putt you are so precisely aligned to.
One, look at the hole and visualize the ball falling straight in. Don’t try to see it running all the way to the hole. What the ball does on its way to the hole means nothing. You want the ball to fall in, and that’s all you need to visualize.
Two, you will make more putts that you dreamed possible if you hit them all on the sweet spot. The ball rolls true and the right distance.
Three, set up on a tile floor occasionally to make sure that what you think is a square putterface, really is. I tend to leave mine open a few degrees, which is enough to miss an eight-foot putt on the right edge, so I check this all the time.
See also Knit Your Way to Better Putting
My new book, The Golfing Self, is now available at www.therecreationalgolfer.com. It will change everything about the way you play.