All the pros on tour can drive the ball, make great approach and chip shots, but he who putts well takes home the bacon.
We hear it all the time. If you are not playing well on a particular day, you can always make up several strokes by making some crucial putts that can grant you a birdie, save a par or even prevent the dreaded double bogie.
There are more putters on the market today than ever, all claiming to make you putt better. That may be true to some degree, but the fact is, you will only putt as well as you read the green, line up the putt and stroke the ball with some conviction. However, feeling comfortable and confident over the ball is half the battle. Once you find that putter that makes you feel comfortable and confident your focus should be on, first, reading the putt, then lining up the putt and stroking the ball on that line. Seems pretty obvious, but not so easy to do.
Once you have read a putt from behind the ball and picked your line, have you noticed that line seems to change as you address the ball? Funny things happen; you may feel that you are lined up to the left or to the right of where you thought you should be. The line always seems so simple from behind the ball. The problem occurs as you approach the ball and once you get over it. If it does not feel right, it is very difficult to feel confident, therefore, your stroke will not have conviction.
I pick a spot on the green one to two feet away from the ball directly in line with the ball and the line I want the ball to start on. When I approach the ball I turn my body in the direction of my putt, but I keep my whole body well behind the ball so that I can clearly see that spot. I simply move closer to the ball while watching that spot and place the putter behind the ball, in line with that spot. I then step into the address position while watching the spot to make sure everything is still lined up. I then swivel my head toward the hole in order to get a feel for how hard I need to hit the ball. After that, I am ready to make my putt.
How you stroke the ball is another story for another time, but try this setup, it may help you get the ball rolling on the line you want. Keep in mind this process takes seconds to perform. You would not want anything to take too long, in the interest of speed of play, not to mention driving everyone crazy.
Mulligan's Corner: Just a reminder. The Men's Golf Association Shot Gun tees off at 8:30 a.m. every Thursday at Cypress Head in Port Orange. For more information please contact them directly at (386)756-5449.
Sal Martignetti is an independent golf coach and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (603) 986-3376. His free e-book is available at elusivegolfswing.weebly.com.