The Secret Art of Putting

By: David Nevogt

You super long ball hitters can smash balls at the driving range all day long, but putting is without a doubt the most important aspect to playing good golf. Let's face it though, putting is also a difficult and frustrating part of the game to master. That is why I consider putting an art form.

You can hit the ball once 220 yards to a green and then take three putts to go eighteen feet. The best putters like Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw and Loren Roberts all understand the art of putting better than anyone else.

When you watch them putt it looks like an art compared to the strokes of your high handicap buddies. If you watch most people on the putting green at your local golf club you will see the two main flaws most people make when they are putting:

* Their putter looks like it is being "yanked" back and through
* They lift their head to watch the golf ball as soon as or even before they make contact with the ball

What makes Tiger, Ben, and Loren such good putters is that they each have a very smooth, consistent, and concise putting stroke. The putter looks like it is going the same speed throughout the stroke, their takeaway and follow through are the same length, and most importantly their head stays down while they listen for the ball to go in the hole. On long putts they might lift their head to watch, but only after their stroke is completely finished.

How are these four and other professionals able to conquer the art of putting? By practicing above all else and learning to make their mind quiet while they put, they do this through practicing meditation and breathing techniques.

They also learn to become masters at reading greens, and they do that through their own observation while playing. Great putters will watch other players putts to help determine the roll and speed of the greens that day.

I do realize that not everyone can putt as well as Tiger, no matter how hard they practiced. Regardless, by working on what he does you can improve your putting and shave strokes off of your score.

Putting Drills To Learn The Art Of Putting

Here are a couple of drills you can work on to get your putting on the right track. The first drill to learn the art of putting is to place two clubs down on the practice green, about six feet from the cup, parallel to each other, online with the hole creating a "hallway" for your putter as you stroke through the ball. This drill has multiple benefits to teaching you the art of putting.

Try to putt the ball without hitting the shafts of the clubs as you stroke back and through. You can also measure the length of your backswing and follow through during this drill. Also, since you can set the clubs up and move them if necessary to be perfectly on line for the putt, you can work on your alignment by lining up your hips and shoulders with the shaft of the club closest to you.

Using a putting corridor is also great for confidence because once you putt a few you should begin to make most, if not all of them. This is great for improving the mental side of the art form because you will be visualizing the positive result of the ball going into the hole over and over again.

The second drill is to place an empty 160z water bottle underneath your right armpit.(your left if you putt left handed) Make sure that the water bottle stays resting there with the same amount of pressure as you putt the ball back and through.

This drill will make your hands, shoulders, arms, and chest work together creating a very fluid stroke. This technique will also teach you how to take the putter back properly on line without taking it too far inside or outside as the bottle will fall out if not done incorrectly.

If you practice the drills above you should be able to improve your putting and get a glimpse into the art of putting. However, if you really want to learn this art form inside and out, you need to practice the mental side of the equation by learning far eastern breathing techniques like Tiger. Good luck.

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