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Seven Ways to Hole More Putts

1. Start reading putts before you reach a green

My green-reading routine starts once I am within 10 yards or so of the green itself- sometimes earlier.

Very often, greens are slightly elevated from the fairway and you can get a better view from a slightly lower angle as you approach the putting surface.

You also get a better perspective of the overall lie of the land and the contours on the green.

It can be very difficult to spot subtle slopes when you are standing right on top of them.

I always make a point of getting down low to look at my putts since I believe that the closer you can get your eyes to the level of the ball on the green, the more chance you have of spotting those little breaks that can make the difference between a missed or holed putt.

2. Thumbs straight down the grip keep your hands passive

I've changed my putting grip several times
during the past year or so, but one aspect of my grip that has remained consistent throughout my career is the positioning of my thumbs on top of the shaft. I like to see them placed on top of the grip and pointing straight down the shaft of the putter.

Why? Because that sets both hands in a 'neutral' position where neither can dominate the stroke and manipulate the putter-face through impact.

3. Visualise the line and keep that image fixed in your mind

One thing that never ceases to amaze me about amateur golfers is how little attention they pay to the line of the putt. If you watch any top professional preparing to strike a putt, you'll notice that they constantly look at the line as they go through their pre-putt routine. Most amateur golfers have a brief look at the line from behind the hole, quickly aim their putter in what they think is roughly the right direction, then never glance at their intended line again. Remember, the more information you can give your brain at address, the better chance you have of actually setting the ball rolling on your intended line.

4. Finish with a high elbow for a better roll

I don't have too many technical putting thoughts, since I believe that this part of the game is pretty much instinct and feel, but I do have a couple of set-up keys to keep my stroke on track.

First, I like a nice, wide stance - my feet spread a little more than shoulder-width apart - to give me some stability as I stand over the ball.

Second, I like the ball pretty much central in my stance with my hands directly above it address. I believe that this gives me the best chance of striking the putt at the base of the stroke so that the full face of my putter makes contact with the ball for a pure roll.

Finally, I like to keep the putter face fairly low to the ground in the course of making the backstroke and then finish with my left elbow fairly high in my through-stroke. This ensures that I accelerate the putter through impact and encourages me to strike the ball with an ever so slight upward sweeping motion to impart top-spin on the ball for a positive roll.

5. Align putter shaft with forearms to hole more short putts

I don't have too many technical putting thoughts, but I do believe that it is very important to hold the putter in such a way that the forearms and the shaft of the club form a straight line. This sets the hands in a more arched position at address and gives you a piston-like action that will enable the club, hands and arms to work more as a unit for more consistency. This is particularly important on short putts, where you want the putter to travel straight back and through on a square-to-square path.

6. Why you can be more relaxed over those six footers

The statistics show that even the tour pros hole only about 20-30% of putts between six and
ten feet. So if guys who spend several hours every day on the practice green honing their
strokes have only a very slim chance of making putts of this length, there's not a great deal of hope for the average amateur. But that's good news for you. Now that the weight of
expectation is off your shoulders, you can go ahead and make a positive stroke.

Most amateurs miss putts of this makeable length because they get nervous about missing a putt that they think they should hole. Once they get anxious, they either tighten their grip on the putter and make a tense and jabby stroke, or they become too hesitant and fail to get the ball running positively towards the hole. Now that you know that you've got nothing to lose, you can eliminate the fear of failure.

7. Watch the ball roll past the hole

Finally, make sure that you pay full attention to what the ball is doing all the way to the end of its journey. If you hole the putt - great. You can watch it fall into the hole. )ob done. But it's even more important that you pay attention when you know the ball is going to miss, so that you can get a perfect read on the putt back. Most amateur golfers switch off as soon as they can see that the putt is going to miss. If you do that, you're missing out on vital information that will help you hole the next one. So follow the roll all the way to the hole and beyond...

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