Golf Putting Tutorial 101 – Stroke Fundamentals, Tips, Drills
Welcome to our ultimate golf putting tutorial where you’ll learn all the best tips, drills, equipment, and more to help you fix your putting stroke and build strong putting fundamentals.
You’re about to get tremendous value in this putting tutorial 101 guide if you stick through it and read down to the final sections on putting drills and putting equipment for you to use to improve your putting technique.
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Here are the following topics covered for you to check out. Enjoy!
- Golf Putting Grip
- Golf Putting Stroke
- Golf Putting Posture
- Reading Greens
- Golf Putting Pre-Shot Routine
- Accuracy & Distance Control with the Putter
Additional Putting Tips Covered in this Guide:
- Putting Statistics of Golfers & Handicaps
- 5 BEST Golf Putting Drills to Build your Practice Routine Around
- Golf Balls Effect on Putting
- The Putter & its Effect on Putting
- Recommend Putters & Equipment
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The Golf Putting Grip
There are many different ways to grip a putter. But here’s the thing…the golf putting grip really doesn’t matter as long as your wrists stay still during the putting stroke.
Why do we say this?
Because there are millions of different golfers in the world who hold the putter club differently with a variety of putting grip variations but the end result is the player making the ball roll into the hole.
Therefore, we will cover some common putting grips that you can experiment with and find which grip type feels most comfortable for your putting stroke.
- The Traditional Grip
- The Reverse Overlap Putting Grip
- The Cross Handed Putting Grip
Traditional Putting Grip – For right hander’s, your left hand grips the top of the putter and your right hand comes next…lower on the putter, while wrapping around your left hand’s thumb to provide unity.
Then there are many variations from here, meaning you could have a reverse overlap grip, overlap grip, or different interlock grips with your two hands and fingers.
The Reverse Overlap Putting Grip – is the most common of all the putting grips seen on the PGA Tour. If you’ve ever been curious what putting grip is used by Tiger Woods, it’s the reverse overlap grip.
Apply your left hand to the putter grip and then, just beneath, rest your right hand around the putter grip. Link both your hands by lifting the index finger of your left hand and wrapping it over the fingers of your right hand.
Cross Handed Putting Grip – is another method of gripping the putter and basically it’s the opposite hand sequence of traditional.
For right hander’s, the right hand comes first this time onto the putter and then the left hand follows on top of the right hand and lower down the club.
Traditional vs Cross handed grips will depend on which hand feels more comfortable being your guide hand in your putting stroke.
Regardless of which grip you use to hold the putter, your end goal is to knock the ball into the hole. Only worry about grip if it’s greatly affecting your stroke and needs fixed.
You’ll notice if your putting technique is struggling as a result of your grip.
One example is keeping the face square during the stroke. If you notice the face twisting during your putting stroke, it could be a result of improper putting grip.
Here’s a quick one minute video on the proper way to grip the putter:
Click here to read a bonus article on the Tiger Woods Putting Grip (which is really just a reverse overlap grip).
Putting Grip Pressure Tips:
Now that we started off this guide with the different types of putting grips, next let’s focus on grip pressure. You may have wondered what is causing you to pull putts or how to stop pulling putts if it’s become a habit and it’s likely your grip pressure.
Putting Grip Pressure can affect your putting stroke technique and impact your putts ability to start on the intended line you’re aiming for.
Some golfers’ grip the putter like it’s a delicate baby bird while other golfers’ grip the putter like they’re leaning over the edge of a sky scraper and don’t want to drop their putter. Yes, the death grip, as it’s more commonly known.
So what is the right grip pressure to apply to the putter in order to have a solid putting stroke?
Generally, you want a lighter putting grip but not so light that you don’t have firm control of the putter. It’s most important that you maintain a constant grip pressure throughout the entire stroke to avoid the face from moving which can occur if you lessen or tighten your grip while the strokes in motion.
Tiger Woods putting grip features a medium grip pressure and in interviews he has often used the bird analogy of not squeezing too tight or too soft. Below we will cover more on Tiger Woods putting grip as well as Rory McIlroys putting grip so make sure you don’t miss it!
Next time you’re at the course take a few practice putts.
Analyze your current grip pressure to make sure it’s not too loose or too tight to where it’s moving the face of the club during the stroke, causing you to pull your putts (closing the putter face) or slice your putts (opening the putter face).
Putting Grip Tips Takeaway: Keep the wrists still, never flip your wrists, and maintain a constant grip pressure that’s neither too loose nor too tight. Your grip type (cross hand putting grip, reverse overlap grip) doesn’t matter as much but grip pressure can matter! It applies to all types of putting grips.
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The Putting Stroke
What is the proper putting stroke? Does the proper putting stroke change for different handicap level golfers?
In this section of our golf putting tutorial, we will share our best putting stroke tips to help you hit straighter putts and reduce your numbers of strokes on the greens.
When it comes to the putting stroke, a golfer will either be a radial putter or a linear putter.
Sorry if those big technical golf words confused you there, let me rephrase that; a radial stroke is also known as the “arcing putting stroke” while the linear stroke is considered a “straight back straight through putting stroke.”
Both types of putting stroke have their advantages and disadvantages.
Both putting strokes are taught by PGA teaching professionals.
And both putting stroke types are used by professional golfers.
The putting stroke you decide to use in your golf game is up to you.
This guide will outline the arcing putting stroke and the square to square putting stroke so you can be educated in deciding which is the proper putting stroke for you to implement and perfect.
The Arc vs Square to Square Putting Method
The arc putting stroke occurs when a golfer arcs the putter face to the inside of the target line during the backswing, then follows that arc back to square at impact before finishing the stroke back to the inside on the follow through.
This putting method gets its name because of the arcing motion it creates during the putting stroke. Here’s a photo example of the ball and target line.
Square to Square Putting Method
The square to square putting stroke has many names such as the linear stroke and the straight back straight through putting stroke.
It’s really just like it sounds.
A player keeps the putter on the target line on the backstroke and then brings it straight back on the line to impact and follows through continuing on straight with the target line. See the top image of the square to square method.
Some people will argue that everyone has an arcing stroke and that no one truly has a SBST stroke. This is true because it’s impossible to hold the perfectly straight line. They tend to use words like “strong arcing putter” or “light arcing putter”
But it’s much more simple to be referred to as an arcing putter or a square to square putter so this is how we will differentiate the two moving forward.
The Arcing (Radial) Putting Stroke Method:
- Longer back stroke than follow through stroke
- Takes the putter to the inside on the back stroke on an arc
- Finishes the follow through stroke on an arc back to the inside
- Keep face 90 degrees to the arc at all times
- Favors a toe weighted putter
- Favors a heavier putter in order to feel the weight of the head throughout the stroke
- Tiger Woods putting stroke type
Tiger Woods Practicing Putting Routine
The Linear Putting Stroke (Square to Square Method):
- Shorter back stroke than follow through
- Straight back on the back stroke and straight through on the forward follow through.
- Keep 90 degrees to the target line
- Favors evenly distributed weighted putter or heel weighted putter
- Rory McIlroy putting stroke type
Analysis: The stroke type affects a golfer’s ability to control the speed of the putt. It’s easier to control the putter when you have less curvature (arc) in your stroke’s motion. Therefore arc is okay to have but you don’t want too much of it or you risk struggling to maintain control.
Radial Putting Stroke Explained:
If you use the arcing putting stroke your main objective is to keep the putter face 90 degrees relative to the arc during the stroke. Another way to say this is the putter face must remain 90 degrees to the line that would be tangent to the arc at any moment.
It doesn’t make sense for an arcing putter to try to keep the face 90 degrees (perpendicular) to the target line because that would make a really awkward and unnatural motion.
Instead, an arcing putter naturally opens the face up during the stroke to keep it 90 degrees to the arc line. Your face may be open relative to the target line but it’s square to the arc which is what you want for this type of stroke.
Since your putter face is open relative to the target line then you must make sure to follow that arc back to impact, closing the face or else you’ll strike the golf ball with an open putter face sending it offline.
Failing to maintain the 90 degree angle to the arc will result in putter head rotation. The rotation of a golfer’s putter head is measured relative to the golfer’s arc in degrees open and closed. So during the back stroke if the golfer doesn’t open the putter face enough to maintain 90 degrees to the arc’s tangent line – aka square – then the putter head would be considered rotated closed “X” degrees.
The same goes for opening the face too much relative to the tangent line. In this case the putter head’s rotation would be considered rotated open “X” degrees. Zero rotation occurs when the putter face remains square to the arc at any given point throughout the putting motion.
During the forward stroke, the golfer must compensate for rotation during the back swing in order to get the face back to square at impact and start the ball on the target line. Otherwise you’ll end up with a sliced golf putt resulting from a rotated open face or a draw from a rotated closed face and it’s likely you assume you pushed or pulled the putt when in reality it was just the face angle at impact.
Straight Back Straight Through Putting Method Explained:
For straight back straight through putters, your objective is to keep the putting stroke square to the target line. The target line, to clarify, is the line you want the ball to start rolling on after impact with the putter head.
Zero rotation for the SBST putter is relative to keeping the face 90 degrees to the target line. Again, zero rotation for the SBST is nearly impossible but the straighter of a stroke you can acquire the easier it is to control your putter and keep on line.
Golf professionals, such as PGA Tour players, have very minimal putter face rotation which is ideal in the proper putting stroke. On the backswing Tour Players open the face less than 6 degrees and on the follow through they close the face less than 6 degrees. Their rotation is less than 1 degree as they are “Pros” at maintaining a square putter face.
Putting Stroke Takeaway:
- Arc is how much you stray off the target line to the inside. The less arc the better the control over the putter
- Rotation is how many degrees the putter face strays off from being square (90 degrees) to the arc tangent
- Straight back straight through putters stay on their target line with minimal arc in the stroke
- Rotation is how many degrees their putter face strays off from being 90 degrees to their target line
- Face alignment transmits 83% of error to a golf ball during the swing which is why it’s crucial to maintain a square putter face to start the ball on line and give it a chance to go into the hole.
Putting Stance & Posture Tips
Did you know…your putting stance and putting posture can affect how severe an arc is in your putting stroke or how straight a stroke is. If you’ve ever wondered how to stop closing the putter face then this section should help you. It’s likely being influenced by your putting stance ball position.
What we will focus on for the proper putting stance is:
- How far you stand away from the ball?
- How much spine angle you have?
Together, these two co-exist and contribute to the arc in your putting motion.
For example, if you stand further away from the golf ball you’re more likely to increase the arc in your putt. You can visualize how your straight back straight through stroke is affected if you keep backing away further and further from the ball. It gets harder to keep your wrists and arms on the target line naturally without any irregular compensation move.
You’ll naturally want to arc the putter inside of that line bringing it closer to your body so that you don’t have to compensate by lowering the shaft angle and reaching forward to try and stay on the target line.
This is where spine angle comes in.
If you stand further away from the ball but have a really bent over spine angle then your arms are back in line with the natural SBST motion. As you stand up straighter decreasing the spine angle, you get further away from the target line again and have to compensate.
So if you catch yourself struggling to maintain a straight back straight through motion then maybe it’s because you’re too far away from the ball and forcing yourself to lunge your arms out away from your body to compensate. Adjust your spine angle as well depending on if you Arc or SBST.
Golf Stance & Posture Takeaway:
- Results from standing further away from the ball
- Results from less spine angle and straighter upright posture
Straight Back Straight Through
- Easier done when standing closer to the ball
- Spine angle is more bent over allowing arms to hover over the target line and easily move backwards in a straight motion
Putting Stance Ball Position
Another factor to consider in your putting technique is your ball position. Some golfers like to place the ball position more forward in their stance, others more middle, and some golfers further back.
It can impact your stroke and contact with the ball since the putter is swinging like a pendulum. When the ball position is more forward, your putter is likely to catch it on the upswing.
As a result, spin rate, loft, and other factors all change compared to when the ball position is back in the putting stance. If you want a more smooth roll, find which ball position is the right fit for the type of putter and stroke you use.
Starting putts off on a smooth roll will improve distance control ability which we cover more below in this guide.
Reading greens is a skill you can acquire over time from doing it enough and from seeing the results of your putts after reading the green.
There are some golf adages out there that can assist you from time to time so here are two that are pretty commonly known:
- Slope runs towards the bodies of water
- Slope runs away from the mountains
Since bodies of water are generally below us it makes sense for a ball to roll down to the water level. Mountains of course are above us so you can consider the golf green built into the side of a mountain, causing the ball to continue rolling down the mountain slope away from the mountain top.
So in the event that you happen to be playing a golf course near mountains or near a body of water, consider those two old adages.
How to read greens otherwise?
A golf ball is affected by gravity. It wants to travel to the lowest point on the green so if you have an uphill putt it will be slower and a downhill putt will be faster as gravity from the low point is acting on the golf ball.
When reading break you want to discover the low point of the green and it’s relation to the hole. The ball will naturally break towards that low point as gravity pulls on it. Similarly, if you were to picture water running off of a green it would be flowing to the lowest point on the green.
The severity of break is what’s challenging to read and decipher. We can usually tell pretty easily whether a putt’s going to break from left to right or break from right to left but how much is the difficult question.
A quick tip is to walk around the green and let your senses take over in your feet and body. By walking around you can get a feel for how steep the green is sloping in different areas and also feel your weight shifting down the different slopes as you move around.
If it’s tough to see break and feel break then you likely have a pretty flat putt that may slightly break one way or the other.
Step off the green and squat down like a baseball catcher trying to look at the green from front to back imagining a horizontal line running across.
Usually the front of the green will be lower than your imaginary horizontal line and the back of the green will be above it.
Greens naturally are sloped from back to front in order to hold golf balls and prevent them from rolling off the back of the green but occasionally you’ll get flat greens or challenging greens that downslope in the back making it difficult for your golf ball to stay on if over hit.
The 5 main things to consider in reading a green and judging its break are:
- Green Speed
- Degree of Slope
- Length of Putt to Hole
- Position of ball on the slope
- Grain of Grass
We discussed degree of slope and some observational tips above in trying to read greens but the other 4 are important technical factors to consider as well.
Reading Green Speed Tips
Green speed is typically measured on a stimpmeter scale and can range from 6-12. In average golfer terms, green speed is known as slow, medium, and fast!
In terms of break, higher green speeds result in more break.
Slower green speeds result in less break.
Speed is measured in how quickly the ball stops. The longer the grass, the more friction there is which ultimately slows the ball sooner resulting in the term “slow greens” or “these greens are slow today.”
Quality of grass can impact as well. If it’s wet grass it will be slower and if it’s burnt grass then the greens will be quick.
You’ll notice on the PGA Tour that they burn up the greens in preparation for the tournament to make sure they are hard and fast greens, making it difficult for golf balls to hold and stay on.
Degree of Slope
We mentioned this above when we talked about reading the slope but obviously the more a green slopes, the more a putt will break.
Squat down and create an imaginary level to judge slope. Also use bodies of water and other land features that might give away the degree of slope.
Position the Ball Sits on the Slope
In this case you have to look at where you are on the slope compared to the hole.
- If you’re above the hole then you have a down slope putt.
- If you’re below the hole then you have an uphill putt.
- If you’re on the right side of an up-sloping green and the holes on the left side then you’ll have a right to left breaking putt.
- If you’re on the left side of an up-sloping green and the hole is on the right side then you’ll have a left to right breaking putt as the ball wants to go right, down the slope towards the low point at the front of the green.
Whether or not you’re above the hole or below it will also have an effect of how much of a right to left break you face.
Length of Putt
- Longer putts usually result in more break as the ball has more time and distance to travel than shorter putts
- Since short putts have less break usually, you really have to dial in the correct speed.
Grain of Grass
The grain of the grass can vary from hole to hole and is something you should consider in order to determine speed which then affects amount of break.
- Putting into the grain (dull colored grass) results in a slower putt as the grain of grass is angled against you causing more friction than when it is with you.
- Putting with the grain (shiny looking grass) results in quicker putts because the grain is bent away from you towards the hole creating less friction to slow the golf ball.
Green Reading Takeaway: Practice reading greens before every putt and overtime you’ll build skill and train your eyes as to how much break you’re really seeing. Use slope analysis and green speed to determine how quickly and how much a putt is going to break.
Golf Putting Pre-Shot Routine
Ever wonder how to improve putting accuracy on the greens? Take your pre-shot routine more serious!
You should have a go to putting routine that you do before every putt. It will allow you to mentally prepare for the putt and build confidence in your decisions and readings. Every putting routine varies so there is no golden routine. Do what’s comfortable to you and mentally powerful.
Here is an example routine we can share though to give you some guidance.
An Example Pre-Putt Routine:
Step 1: Stand behind your ball marker and analyze the green from this angle. See how the green appears to slope and which way you think your ball will break.
Step 2: Walk around the hole to the opposite side and crouch and analyze the green again. See if you can confirm that the green is going to break the way you thought from the other side of the hole.
Step 3: Analyze the green from the sides as well so you’ve covered all sides of the hole and can determine how steep the slope is.
Tip: As mentioned earlier, get a feel for how your weight shifts as you walk around observing the slope and break from different angles to get a sense for how steep the slope is which will help you determine speed.
Step 4: Line your ball up however you choose to, whether you use a marker line on your ball or the words printed on the ball, or maybe you don’t line up the ball at all.
Step 5: Take two practice strokes to solidify your putting motion and to transmit speed signals to your brain of how much speed you want to apply to your putt. Look at the hole to finalize a feel for distance and speed.
Step 6: Place your putter behind the ball and make the actual putting stroke.
Again, this was a quick example putting routine but we highly recommend coming up with your own that you are confident using and that gives you great analytical results to apply to your putting speed and break played.
Pre-Shot Routine Takeaway: Analyze slope, distance to hole, ball position, green speed & grain as part of your pre-shot practice routine but finish off with a few practice strokes and last second glances at the hole to send speed signals to your brain before stroking a great putt.
Now that we have covered putting fundamentals it’s time to dive into the meaty portion of this post and the part you’ve been waiting to read that truly affects your misses and makes.
The 2 Factors of Putting: Distance Control & Accuracy
Up until now we have gone over the putting grip, the stroke, the stance, and the posture for putting set up and fundamentals.
Then we dove into how to read greens and how it’s important to have a pre-shot routine leading up to the putt.
Now we’re ready to dive into putting distance control and how to improve putting accuracy.
Distance control is arguably the most important part of the putt. You can be off on accuracy but still make the putt if your speed is spot on in relation to the break.
How far should you roll your putt past the hole if you miss? Common gurus suggest a putting speed that would result in the ball rolling 12-18 inches past the hole but we recommend 6-8 inches. This is approximately one revolution of the golf ball.
So when your ball gets to the hole and is off line then it should only have one revolution left leaving you just 6 inches or so from the hole.
Each additional revolution adds another 6-8 inches of distance which doesn’t seem like much but it reduces your make percent by 12%. Two additional revolutions past the recommended one revolution – for example – reduces your make percent by 24% roughly.
Okay, so if you had to guess the factors that contribute to distance control right now before reading on what would you choose?
Now let’s see how you did.
Factors contributing to distance control:
- Putting Stroke
- Green Speed
You may have more in mind but these are the big two general categories that many smaller factors fall under. First let’s cover the putting stroke in relation to distance control.
The putting stroke dictates distance through the stroke length, tempo, and quality of contact.
The distance of your putt will determine your stroke length. For shorter putts you have a shorter back stroke and for longer putts you’ll need to lengthen the back stroke.
Putting tempo is huge and hard to control for most golfers. You want the same tempo throughout the putting stroke. If you have a slow back stroke but a fast forward stroke then your putting stroke will result in a jerk motion and produce inconsistent results. Imagine your putter like a pendulum swinging back and then forward at the same smooth tempo.
I know you’ve probably heard of a putting stroke compared to a pendulum many times but maintaining a constant tempo is so important to developing a quality putting stroke that produces consistent results you can rely on.
Quality of contact is also very important to producing the proper distance. Striking the ball with solid contact is the ultimate goal but for many golfers who have poor fundamentals in their putting motion it can be difficult to strike the ball with solid contact.
Solid contact will prevent that hopping or skidding you see the ball do after it leaves the putter face. The quality of contact will decide how quickly your ball starts rolling and if you ask a PGA Tour player they’ll tell you the quicker the ball starts rolling off the face the better. Hops and skids will produce inconsistent distances leaving you short more times than not but also long occasionally from last nano-second compensation moves in tempo you add in.
Making solid contact ties back into the Arc stroke and SBST stroke because if you have rotation in the putter face and fail to square it at impact then you risk missing the sweet spot on the putter face.
How quickly your ball starts rolling and whether or not it skips/hops first is largely decided by your putter. Putters’ are built differently in terms of loft angle, center of gravity, and shaft angle which all can contribute to the roll on a golf ball. We’ll get into these more later when we cover equipment by reviewing the best putters for your type of stroke.
We talked about how green speed works but here is a quick recap: the degree of slope, the length of grass, dry vs wet grass, and grain direction.
We also talked about how to read a green and your pre-putt routine in determining the speed you want to hit the putt with.
Therefore we’ve covered green speed mostly but in terms of distance control you want to make sure to adjust your stroke to the green speed. If you notice the first hole that the greens are quick then you’ll need to use less backstroke than normal as back stroke dictates power since your tempo should be constant.
On slower greens, you can lengthen the back stroke giving you more power to compensate for the slower than usual green speed. Especially on rainy days you’ll want to give the ball some extra juice.
Accuracy is most important for short putts. These are the putts that you are expected to make and putts that you need to make to reduce your score.
Distance control is more geared towards lag putting because you aren’t expected to make long putts but you do need to keep the ball near the hole for a short tap in on the next putt.
Putting Tip: Distance control helps you avoid 3 putting, Accuracy can help you one putt.
Here are the two types of putting methods used to guide a putter and help them be accurate:
- Aim Putting
- Spot Putting
Which of the two are you?
If you are an aim putter then you usually identify an aim point at which you’ll put towards on a straight line – known as the target line – and let the break in the green naturally take the ball towards the hole.
Rory Sabbatini using picking an aim point to draw his imaginary target line to start the putt on. Photo credit to Golf Channel.
This photo was shown earlier in this blog post but here it is as a great example of picking an aim point if this is your style of putting accuracy.
Once you’ve selected the aim point then speed is your sole focus so that the ball breaks correctly and finds its way into the hole for you.
If you are a spot putter you look for a mark or discoloration on the green nearby that’s on your putting line and then you attempt to roll the ball over that spot. Missing the spot gives you feed back that your aim was off.
Because the two seem similar and may be confusing think of aim putting as a point on the green far away you are putting towards but will never reach and think of spot putting as selecting a point that you actually want the ball to reach and travel over nearby you.
You either look off into the distance for an aim point or look nearby for a spot point to aim at and hit.
Since we covered the educational side of putting distance control and accuracy, we thought we’d give you some action content as well so coming up shortly you’ll see our 5 Best Putting Drills for keeping the face square and perfecting your putters distance control.
Next we want to compare Putting Handicap Stats between golfers so that you can see how you stand compared to others and learn where you need to improve. Get your competitive spirits up and hop into this next section eager to improve your stats.
Handicaps & Putting Stats
First of all, golf handicap correlates strongly with putting ability. If you can putt then you can save a lot of strokes from your score and keep your handicap lower.
The average handicap for men ranges year to year but it’s usually around a 14 or 15 and a 26 for women.
Graph of Men’s Handicap Spread. Photo credit unknown.
Looking at the bar graph spread you can find where you stack up against other golfers in terms of handicap. The quickest way to improve your scores is to improve your putting. Reduce your putts per round and you should see your score fall.
So how do you do that?
First reduce 3 putts. These are the easiest strokes to eliminate because they don’t belong in your golf game and only add wasted strokes to your overall score. Check out the chart comparing handicaps to 3 putt percent. You can see how many times the typical handicap would 3 putt for 18 holes and for every 100 holes played.
Finding these stats helpful so far? Let’s keep going.
Your ability to make putts from 3 feet and 5 feet relates back to accuracy so if you are falling behind the following statistics then you know you have some work to do to improve the accuracy of your putting stroke and aim. Many golfers think they are aimed correctly but we will explore this a little later in the putter equipment section.
Here are the putting statistics for different skilled golfers from 3 feet or less and from 4 to 5 feet.
Analyzing these results you can see that from 3 ft and in, Pro Tour Players do not differ much from the average golfer. Where they make their money is being able to make those 5 foot putts. I’m sure if we dug around for some more statistics comparing Pro Tour Players vs Average Golfers from 5 feet to 10 feet the percents would vary drastically.
You can expect to face 15 to 18 putts per round from 5 feet or closer. If you’re someone who can make an occasional putt outside of 5 feet then you’ll see closer to 15 or less putts inside 5 feet per round. For the average golfer, just simply focusing on 5 foot or less putts and lag putting will help you greatly.
How many putts per round do the different handicap golfers average?
Good question, we’re glad you asked. Let’s find out.
Using this chart how do you compare? For the next several rounds of golf you play keep track of your putt total and throw out the high and low statistic that would skew the data and then average the remaining rounds. Hope this section helped.
Putting Statistics Takeaway: Putting is roughly 40% of the game so if you want to improve your score then focus on putting first. Cut down the number of 3 putts you have per round and increase your make percentage from inside 5 feet to see the fastest results.
Read: Putting Gate System
Our 5 Best Golf Putting Drills
- The Circle Putting Drill
- The Ladder Putting Drill
- Right to Left Break Set Reps
- Left to Right Break Set Reps
- Lag Putt Machine
Golf Drill #1: The Circle Drill
This drill works on your putting from different angles around the hole giving you experience with different breaking putts. It also tests your ability to handle pressure if you use the putts in a row variation of this drill where you’ll try to go around the circle without missing any putts or else you start over.
Most importantly you get to practice from different distances which helps you learn how breaks work as you move further away from the hole and expand your circle.
Equipment: For this drill you will need your putter, 5 golf balls, and 5 tees or ball markers.
How to Perform this Drill: You’ll measure out 3 feet to start from 5 different spots around the hole and mark each with a tee or ball marker. This should create a circle (or star technically) around the hole if you connected the tees with string.
Place a golf ball next to each tee. Then putt from each position around the hole trying to make all 5 of the putts.
As mentioned, you can either putt from one spot and move to the next regardless of make or miss or you can also hold yourself accountable and must make the putt before moving on to the next tee position.
You can set the bar at 5 in a row, 10 in a row, etc for how long to do this drill before being allowed to quit. If you miss you have to start over at zero. Only putt once from each spot unless you miss of course. We say this so someone doesn’t accidentally stay at the same tee and make 5 putts in a row to pass the drill.
Tiger Woods one handed putting drill is another variation for this drill. Go around the circle putting each ball with one hand until you sink them all. One handed putts can help you build a natural putting stroke as you get better putting with only one hand.
Golf Drill #2: The Ladder Drill
For this putting drill you’ll work on one type of break as well as distance control. Then you can rotate to the other side of the hole and work on the opposite break and distance control from each distance point.
Equipment: You’ll need your putter, 5 golf balls, and 5 tees again.
Measure out 3 feet, 5 feet, 7 feet, 9 feet, and 12 feet. Your putter is about 3 feet in length and your shoe is about 1 foot so you can use these tools to roughly measure distances.
Set a tee at each distance to mark the spot and place a golf ball at each tee as well.
Your objective is to make the putt at 3 feet and then move back to 5 feet and make it. If you miss at 5 feet you have to start back at 3 feet. You complete the drill when you can make all 5 putts in a row from each of the 5 distances. It gets hard as you move further away from the hole so this drill may take awhile but is great practice for short range putting.
Then go to the other side after you complete it or after awhile of attempting to pass the drill and repeat the ladder drill on the other side so you can work on that break also.
Golf Drill #3: Set Reps Drill for Right to Left Break
This drill works on a set distance and a set break type which happens to be right to left breaking putts. Its repetition trains your muscle memory for combining distance control and accuracy at a certain distance.
Equipment: Putter, 10 Golf Balls, and a tee or ball marker to mark your one spot
Find a right to left breaking putt by practicing some test putts on a hole. Once you’ve found this type of break then measure out a desired distance you want to work on between 3 feet and 12 feet.
For example, you can start at 3 feet for awhile and move to a further back distance later up to 12 feet.
Let’s say you chose 6 feet. Now place your tee at that 6 foot point to hold your spot and place your 10 golf balls near the tee.
Begin stroking putts from that tee to the hole and record how many you make out of the 10 attempts. Once you’ve putted all 10 balls then go retrieve them and repeat again.
You’ll need to set your desired number of reps for that distance and break type so for example you can putt 100 right to left break putts from 6 feet and then 100 right to left break putts from 9 feet. Set reps at a set distance for a set break type. Repetition at the same spot to build muscle memory.
Golf Drill #4: Set Reps for Left to Right Breaking Putts
This is the same drill as #3 except from the other side of the hole so that you work on left to right breaking putts instead.
Select a distance and select a number of reps to complete. Don’t forget to record your results in your head so you can see how you improve from week to week.
Golf Drill #5: Lag Putt Machine
This drill works on your distance control and lag putting skills which will be crucial if you want to drop your score and cut out 3 putts.
Equipment: Putter, 10 golf balls, and a tee or ball marker.
You’ll be selecting a distance to lag putt from similarly to Drill #3 and #4. You can start at 20 feet and putt 50 reps before moving back to 30 feet and so on.
If you want to challenge yourself and make sure you are focused throughout the drill, then set a “putts in a row” requirement. For example, hold yourself accountable to try and make all 20 putts inside 3 feet of the hole.
The distance control image above showed a photo of 3 golf clubs forming a box around the hole except for the side that the ball comes rolling in from. This a great way to test yourself because it will show you putts that you hit too far past the hole as well as too far left or right of the hole, failing to keep it within the 3 feet requirement. Here it is again for your reference:
The box will keep you focused on not rolling the balls past the hole to far. Adjust their length to make it harder or easier on you.
Putting Drills Takeaway: Perform a mix of distance control, accuracy, and break type drills to master these 3 aspects of a putt and begin making more putts from inside 5 feet. You find that these putting drills keep the face square because they’ll train your eyes to watch how the ball comes off the face after hundreds of putts. You’ll then develop better hand eye coordination helping you keep the putter face square at impact.
Golf Balls & Effect on Putting
There’s a lot of debate among the golf community about how golf balls affect your putting but we won’t get into the argument discussions that people raise about this subject. Instead let’s look at the two factors that most people pay attention to in their putting stroke.
The sound of the golf ball as it comes off the club face stands out to some golfers and causes them to find a golf ball that’s charming to their hearing (:
More expensive golf balls like the Titleist ProV1 and Titleist ProV1x have been known to produce a soft thud whereas cheaper golf balls or even plastic cover golf balls tend to give a high frequency “ping” sound that can become annoying or distracting.
Feel is how solid the golf ball fees when the club face hits it.
The more expensive golf balls typically come off the putter with a softer feel while the cheap balls produce a heavier thud feeling.
In the end though, golf balls mainly matter for off the tee and your approach shots all the way up to being on the green. Once you’re on the green it’s hard to prove that a golf ball has an effect on your putting stats. You’ll improve more by focusing on distance control and accuracy than what ball you’re putting. You can argue that feel, such as the soft thud or hard thud, can affect your ability to sense distance control so therefore shop around until you find a ball that works for you off the tee as well as feels good on the green.
Putters & their Effect on Putting
Choosing the right equipment that fits your golf game is important in general whether it’s a driver, irons, or putter. When it comes to putting you need a putter that is made for the type of stroke you have.
Remember your stroke consists of:
- Arc vs Straight Back Straight Through
- Face Rotation
- Stroke Length
Unlike golf balls which all have the same design in size and weight, the putter can have many variations in its weight and size. Weight has a lot of bullet points that can be associated with it:
- Arc Strokes tend to favor toe weighted putters
- SBST putters tend to favor evenly distributed weighted putters
- Lighter putters are favored for slow greens
- Heavier putters are favored for fast greens
A golfer who has an arcing putting stroke tends to favor the toe-weighted putter because the weight in the head helps with opening and closing the face during the stroke to maintain squareness to the arc.
Heavier putters are also favored by this type of putter because they rotate slower which keeps the putter from over rotating the face during the stroke. A lighter putter would be harder to control the face rotation as the putter is opening and closing the face.
Golfers’ who want a heavier putter but not a heaver putter head can choose to customize putters so that the weight is distributed in the putter shaft instead.
For the straight back straight through golfer, the evenly distributed putters tend to be best. Since the weight is evenly distributed throughout the putter head, gravity acts on the putter equally and doesn’t pull on any one part causing rotation. SBST putters can maintain a square face easier as a result throughout the entire stroke due to this added control.
Our very own Golf Practice Guides founder, Nick Foy, uses an evenly distributed weighted putter and uses the straight back straight through putting stroke. His putter is the Odyssey Versa #7 with white and black stripes to help with aim which is discussed next.
Putters & Aim
Aim as discussed earlier is huge in starting the putt on the correct target line. Many golfers think they are aimed at their target but if you were to perform a laser test to see where the putter face is really aimed, you may be surprised by the results. As a result of misalignment, accuracy decreases from the start and lots of putts are missed over time.
Try it sometime. Set up your putter to a target line you think you’re aiming at and then have a partner crouch down by your putter head and align the laser so that it’s in sync with where the center of your putter face is aiming. You can do this indoors or outdoors but you need some kind of object for the laser to run into – such as a wall – so you can see the results.
Putters now days have gotten more in sync with golfers needs for alignment and aiming needs. The Odyssey Versa above, for example, has white and black stripes parallel to the putter’s face edge so that straight back straight through players can use these to line up perpendicular to the target line and know that their putter is square to the target line.
Other putters may have some sort of lines running parallel or perpendicular to the face edge for you to use in alignment and aiming. Find the putter that you aim best with and that you also like the design and feel of.
Putter’s Considered Best on the Market
The Titleist Brand in general is known to be one of the best in golf so once again they’re at the top of the list for putters. Being a high quality brand comes with a higher price as well so that’s something to consider when you buy a putter. Some of the top putter brands include Titleist’s Scotty Cameron Putters, Nike Method Putters, and Odyssey Putters. Below are some new 2014 putters from each brand that have received great reviews. Choose which putter head you like best as well as weight distribution.
Titleist Putters (Adam Scott, Jordan Speith – Top 10 in World)
Nike Method Putters (Tiger Woods & Rory McIlroy)
- Nike Golf Men’s Method MOD 90 Golf Putter, Right Hand, 35-Inch
- NIKE METHOD 001 Putter (35-Inch, Right-Handed, Steel)
Odyssey Putters (Padraig Harrington, Thomas Bjorn)
- Odyssey Metal X Milled Versa #9 High Toe Putter, Right Hand, 33-Inch
- Odyssey Tank Cruiser #7 Mallet Golf Putter, Right Hand, 35-Inch
- Odyssey Metal X Milled Versa #1 Putter, Right Hand, 33-Inch
- Odyssey Metal X Milled Versa #7 Putter, Left Hand, 33-Inch
Golf Putting Tutorial 101 Conclusion:
Wow, congratulations to you if you’ve read this entire tutorial that is just shy of 8,000 words. I have great respect for that and for your desire to learn and get better at golf.
To review real quickly everything we covered in this EPIC tutorial:
- Putting Grip
- Putting Posture
- Putting Stroke
- Accuracy & Distance Control
- Reading Greens
- Pre-Shot Putting Routine
- Putting Statistics of Golfers & Handicaps
- 5 Core Putting Drills to Build your Routine Around
- Golf Balls Effect on Putting
- The Putter & its Effect on Putting
This was a lot of information to take in and we tried hard to communicate it in easy to understand terms for you but if you have any questions don’t hesitate to leave comments below, just be respectful and mindful when posting comments.
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We wanted to create epic content that can reach as many people as possible and help a lot of golfers realize something in their putting stroke that they can improve. This tutorial hopefully opened up your mind to new thinking and helped you discover something to fix or something new to implement into your practice.
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