Golf - The Secret To Perfect Putting

Donald Saunders

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I know, in the real world there's no such thing as perfect putting and, it there were, Tiger Woods and others would spend their time on the practice green before every competition round. However, if you follow these simple steps then it is possible to get pretty close to perfect putting.

The secret starts with using the correct grip. Place you hands lightly hands on the club and avoid the temptation to squeeze it to death as if it were snake trying to kill you. Wrap your fingers lightly around the club, but don't overlap or interlock them, and avoid the temptation to put an angle on the club, as you would when playing off the tee or on the fairway. Then address ball squarely and, above all, relax.

Your feet should normally be no further apart than the width of your hips and your weight should be balanced slightly towards the inside of your left heel, if you are a right-handed player.

As you address the ball it should be towards the front of your stance and centered between your shoulders. In essence, you want the ball roughly in the center of your stance and, if anything, slightly towards your left instep. Your hands should be near the top of the grip and your eyes should be focused directly over the ball. Your stance should also place you at right angles to the hole so that as you putt you follow a natural pendulum line between the ball and the hole.

If you are putting on a downhill slope you will want to strike the ball towards the toe of the putter which will give you slightly less impact on the ball and reduce the risk of overshooting the hole. For the majority of puts however you should aim to strike the ball dead center on the sweetspot. Finally, keeping the club moving in a single plane along the line from the ball to the hole bring the club back smoothly and then back in to hit the ball as if this were all one single movement. Remember to that, for a right-handed golfer, it is the right hand that makes the stroke, with the left hand simply being used to hold the club.

So far so good, but now we need to practice with specific balls. In case you think at this stage that I've gone crazy pay particular attention to this one and then try it for yourself – you'll see exactly what I mean.

If you look closely at most golf balls you will see that they have an “equator" or “seem" which appears during manufacture. This is often not immediately visible can usually be detected by a slight variation in the pattern of dimples on the ball. Now manufacturers go to a great deal of trouble to construct a perfectly balanced ball but, despite their best intentions, many balls will have a slight bias, rather like a bowling ball.

Take a few balls out onto the practice green (preferably one that is flat, dry and level), pick one particular ball and have a few practice putts from different distances keeping track of how well you do.

Next take a few practice putts around the green (not aiming at the hole) and watch carefully for any tendency for the ball to veer off to one side or the other. At this stage you might find it helpful to use a marker or two, such as a piece of string or some coins, and mark out a line along which to putt. Move the line around and try putting over different distances and in different directions around the green. Your aim is not to get the ball in the hole, but to judge the movement of ball over different distances.

Once you've got the feel of a particular ball try putting for the hole again over a series of different distances and see if your success rate has increased. You'll be surprised.

Now this might not be perfect putting but it's about as close as you can get.

Golf is the world's most popular sport and there is nothing better than taking a complete break from your normal routine and heading off on something like one of the fabulously relaxing Phoenix golf vacations . You could even take your own monogrammed golf balls along to practice with.


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