Most of the things I discover about putting come from hours spent on the practice green. Every so often something goes click. This one, however, comes from my back room, where I knock the ball around for a few minutes every night.
It’s about sinking the putts that you just have to sink–short, no break. Just straight in the hole. Yet, those can be the hardest ones, for some reason.
This is what I noticed. I had been imagining a tiny line between the ball and the hole, and hitting the putt so the ball rolls along that line. That’s a lot of pressure
But what popped into my head that night was a band, as wide as the putter, going to the hole.
Not only that, but I saw that if you line up the toe of the putter with the corresponding edge of the hole, so that if the putter could magically slide across the green to the hole, the absolute toe would graze that edge of the hole, which would square up the putterface to roll ball into my rubber “hole” dead center.
In the photo, the thin red line lines up of the toe of the putter with the outside edge of the hole, and the transparent red band is what the putterface stays square to–a much easier image to believe in that a tiny line going from the ball to the hole.
So forget about the hole, forget about the ball, just make your stroke to have the putter face stay square to the band and the ball goes in. Easy!
As for lining up the toe of the putter with the outside edge of the hole, it might seem like this would not be exact. But if you try this out, and the putterface is not square to the hole, you will see clearly that the toe is not “pointing” to the edge.
I think this works because you are squaring up the entire surface of the putterface rather than a small point on the surface. And to tell the truth, I’m not even sure you can square up a point to something.
I tried out this method on a putting green and found it to be reliable up to about 15 feet.
[Update: With practice, you can use this technique on breaking putts, too, by learning how much to line up the tip of the putterface outside (R to L) or inside (L to R) the hole.]