One of the oldest adages in golf is “Drive for show, putt for dough”. While it may be an overused saying, there's a lot of truth to it. One of the easiest ways to lower a golf score - and improve your handicap - is to reduce the number of 3-putts on your scorecard. Hitting the green in regulation (1 shot on a par 3, two on a par 4, and three on a par 5) and two-putting will earn you par on every hole.
The setup and stroke is a great place to start if you're looking to reduce the number of putts it takes to complete a round. Here are three keys to keep in mind when putting:
- Accelerate through the putt
- Think pendulum
Putting differs from other parts of the game in one major way. You get to place your ball down! The biggest advantage you have on the green is that you can line up your putt. So before you even get on the course draw a line on your ball. It doesn’t need to be long, just enough so you can place it as a guiding track when putting.
One of the biggest mistakes an amateur can make on the putting green is leaving a putt short. A short putt never has the chance to even go in because it lacks the speed to even get there. Distance control is key if you want to improve your putting. An easy way to improve your distance control is to improve the consistency of your stroke. This means accelerating through the ball and envisioning your stroke as a pendulum. By accelerating through the ball, you’ll give your speed better feel which will in turn help your distance control.
Breaking your wrists when you putt is a sure fire way to mess up your speed and distance. It can also throw your putt off line from the start. Watch the pros putt; they never break their wrists and their putter head is like a pendulum. Smooth on the way back, then smoothly accelerating through impact.
Try a Rukket 2-In-1 Putting Green to practice your alignment and stroke. It comes with pendulum markers so you can easily practice accelerating through the ball. You can even compare yourself to the pros with the putt percentage graphic!
Jon handles communications at Rukket but grew up playing competitively in the AJGA and Philadelphia Section Junior PGA. He currently plays to a 5 handicap.