Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Suggestions On How To Improve Putting

By Dorothea Garner

If you know how to improve putting, you will be able to cut many strokes off your score. Over an eighteen hole course, accurate putting will be a great bonus. Straight drives and clever chipping will be wasted if you then take three or four putts to sink the ball. Pace and line are both important and time spent practicing these will not be wasted.

There are basically two types of putt. The lag putt is a long distance putt and at least ten feet from the hole. The aim here is to put the ball as close to the hole as possible. The short putt needs to be accurate enough to be put in the hole each time. This will save the frustration of requiring extra putts just to finish a hole. Getting the distance accurate is the most important factor for long putts. Line is more important on short putts.

Practice will enable you to better judge the weight needed to hit the ball a particular distance. Practice this skill by placing two markers in a line a short distance apart. Stand back a few yards and hit the ball so that it stops between the two marks. As you improve, move the markers closer together. Aim at hitting ten consecutive balls between the markers. Once you are able to do that, move a couple of yards further away from the markers and try again. Then move closer.

After a few days, you should see a real improvement in your accuracy. Now try hitting random distances. Toss a marker a few feet or yards away and putt to it. Then toss it from you again. With this drill you will be aiming at accuracy over a different distance with each shot.

To improve your line, you should put markers a golf ball's width apart. From a very close distance, say six inches, try to hit the ball through the gap. When you can hit a number of consecutive balls through, move back a short distance and try again.

These drills should be done on a level surface to start with. Once you feel you have improved to a significant degree, try the same exercises on a slope. Keep your head steady and still. Lifting the head too early causes the putter to move out of alignment.

Deep breathing will help you relax tense muscles. Remember not to hold your breath when putting. Don't stab at the ball as this will cause it to bounce instead of roll. Flicking the wrist will have the same effect. Instead, swing the club in an arc like a pendulum. Your strokes will then be more accurate.

Reading the green comes with experience. Once you are more confident with pace and line, reading the green becomes easier. Take note of how the ball often curves to the hole. Greens vary in their speed. Weather conditions affect how greens play. The ball tends to sink in wet grass and not travel as fast. Going uphill, the ball will need a little more impetus. Check and remove allowable obstacles such as twigs and stones. Note areas of sand which might alter the speed. Always mark the ball's position before picking it up to clean it. How to improve putting is easy with these drills.

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