After last weeks Practice Tip Article “Putt Your Way to A Great Golf Swing” – I received many emails and calls about our recommended Putting Fundamentals, Practice Set Up, Putting System, etc… So, thought it would help many to republish an etip article published a few years ago:
THE 3 Ps OF PUTTING
Simply stated, it is “Practicing your Putting with a Purpose”
Folks, it is actually pretty simple and painless, you just have to DO IT RIGHT!!!
Now, before you think to yourself, “Yeah, I know, Tim always says how important putting is, but I really need to work on my full swing first”, please read the following stats and “studies” that have been conducted and then I will explain how you can literally improve your game overnight…
First – You must first realize the importance of putting. 43% of scoring occurs on the putting green for the average player (male shooting 97, female shooting 107). As the scoring increases, so does the % of putts. For a scratch golfer, the percentage lowers to about 40%, but no lower.
The statistics are as follows:
- 30 handicap golfer (aver 100) – 45 putts per round
- 20 handicap golfer (aver 90) – 40 putts per round
- 10 handicap golfer (aver 80) – 35 putts per round
- Scratch golfer (aver 70) – 30 putts per round
- Professional golfer – 28 putts per round
Second – You would think “that only makes sense” as the 30 handicap golfer will hit it further from the hole than the 20 handicap golfer, thus have more putts…. but you would be wrong. If you think of the way golf is played and the way putting stats are kept (just add up how many putts you have once the ball is on the green) – the 20 handicap golfer actually will hit more greens in regulation than the 30 handicap golfer (he/she will be chipping from the side of the green, etc..). Meaning, if you take the average distance to the hole once the player hits the green, typically the 20 handicap golfer will be further than the 30 handicap golfer… in theory if both had equivalent mid/short games – but here lies the problem.
Third – There are only 3 areas that matter in putting (or any part of the golf swing) – Path, Face Angle, and Speed. Putting is affected by these 3 areas and only these 3 areas. Meaning, everything you work on in putting (for example the grip, set up, etc..) affects either path, face angle and/or speed. The better your path, the better your putting, the better your face angle at impact, the better your putting, the better your speed, the better your putting.
Fourth – READ THIS VERY CAREFULLY: Studies have shown that of 10 golfers who practice their putting, 5 will get no better, 4 will actually get worse, ONLY 1 will improve after practice. Please read this again – of those who practice their putting, 10% will improve after the practice, 50% will not, and 40% will ACTUALLY MAKE THEMSELVES WORSE. (This study was performed numerous times testing golfer’s putting prior to their practice session and after.) As is said in Peoplewise Putting, “Golfers can add, subtract, multiply and divide, and they DON’T like these odds.” I don’t know about you, but if I have a 90% chance of not improving when I practice, “I ain’t practicing” (as they say in Oklahoma…)
Okay – now that everyone is on a “downer” about their putting practice, we’re here to fix that.
Over the years of playing with some of the best players in the world (including Moe, Tiger and many others), competing against many of these players, studying numerous techniques of the short game, etc… etc.. the Graves Golf Academy (myself in particular) created/perfected a method to improve your putting. Are these “our techniques” – I would have to say no, they are techniques we have brought to you from what we have learned from the best in the world – but we have set a system to help you GUARANTEED – if you follow the GGA system.
Many have/had asked me how I practice my putting – I have used this system since the early 90s when I started competing on mini tours and other professional PGA/Nationwide Events as I saw so many other professionals using the same method.
GGA SYSTEM – How to Practice Your Putting with a Purpose EVERYTIME you practice. (In other words, every time you practice, you will one of the 10% who improves!!)
You can see the system (pictures and description) on our website at Online Instruction, Putting System.
It is and EXTREMELY EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT system is you use it correctly. Meaning with minimal practice you can become a MUCH better putter and improve your handicap DRAMATICALLY! This system creates a Check System for you every time you practice and gives you a system that you can take to the golf course.
Please refer to the pictures on Putting System:
Pic. #1 – Recommended for the system. Stakes/string, Eyeline and a “Line ‘Em Up” Marking Tool
Pic. #2 – Set the string in the green from the hole backwards. Set straight to the middle of the hole if a straight putt, if there is break, set accordingly (for example, one cup break, set one cup to the appropriate side of the hole). If you have difficultly reading break, the string HELPS YOU see the break.
Pic #3 – Place a ball under the string (middle of ball under the string). Square your putter face to the string and putt. You will IMMEDIATELY see if your putter face is square to the string/target or not. If not, ADJUST immediately. NEVER putt with a putter face that is not set square to the target.
Pic #4 – The ball should start down the middle of the string and remain down the string for a length of time (depending on severity of break). No break – “ride” the string into the middle of the hole. Minimal break – “ride” the string for a long time until breaks off close to the hole, A lot of break, “rides” string for a few feet and then breaks off toward the hole. This is how you can compare the break to what you read and more importantly determine if you are STARTING your ball on the line your intended. Most average golfers DO NOT!!! In other words, most golfers will set up to a ball, putter face will be either open or closed and then they will either pull or push off their line…. good luck putting consistently……. and to top that off, this type of putting will create side spin on the putt – NOT GOOD!! You want OVERSPIN only on the ball – NO side spin. Putting down the string will help you 1. Square your putter face, 2. Hit the line your intended, 3. Minimize side spin on the ball – ultimately creating CONSISTENCY!!
Pic #5 – Place the “Eye Line” under the string. Line up the black line in the middle of the Eye Line with the string.
Pic #6 – As you see the “Eye Line” is a VERY EFFECTIVE tool and one I added this year. Reasons – 1. It enhances the view of a square putter face at set up but numerous lines on the Eye Line. 2. It enhances the view of the center of the putter (sweet spot) when setting up over the ball. 3. It shows you if you are making a good path or not with the putter but the lines on the EYE LINE.
Pic. #7 – The putter should NEVER go outside the upper read line and should track down the center black line or inside. It should NEVER go outside. This is VERY EASY to see with the EYE LINE. MOST IMPORTANT and why I now recommend the EYE LINE. As you look down, you should see your eyes over the black line. Your black line will line up with the middle of your eyes – hence the “EYE LINE”. Folks – this is the one area I see SO MANY golfers including our alumni break down on…. They do not get their eyes over the putt line which causes 2 LARGE problems – 1. Your putter will only be square for long – meaning, there is only a minimal range of the putter face being square at through impact – the putter will arc too fast if your eyes are not over the ball, 2. You will not be reading the same line when you set up over the ball as you read behind the ball. You will be “seeing” the line inside the ball – NOT the one you are putting on – or the only one that matters. YOU MUST HAVE YOUR EYES OVER THE BALL / BALL LINE to be a consistent putter – whether using a short, belly, long or side saddle putter.
Pic. #8 – Once your eyes are over the ball and your putter face is square, putt down the line.
Pic. #9 – Remove the string, perform the same drill (Eyes over ball, face square, etc..) – this time check to make sure your HEAD (on your body) remains still. You will see it move (even if minimal) when using the Eye Line – your eyes/head should stay still. If not, your putting will be extremely inconsistent. KEEP YOUR HEAD STILL for consistent putting – Eye Line will show if you do or not.
NOW, HOW DO WE TAKE THIS PRACTICE TO THE GOLF COURSE??
Pic #10 – Take the “Line ‘Em Up” Putting Tool (comes with a Sharpie) and draw a T on your golf ball(s). (Reason for drawing tool… if you can’t draw a square T, don’t draw one at all…)
Pic #11 – You will now have a straight T on your golf ball. (It is a legal mark that can be used during all play – many professionals use this mark.)
Pic #12 – Place the ball on the green, with the T pointed to your target (as you did with the string). Square your face to the T. In other words, the top of the T will square the blade of your putter to the target, the line on the T (lower part) will act as your string – show you the path and target line.
Putt the ball toward the hole – (Eyes over the ball, etc..) If putted with a good stroke, you will see the T rolling end over end.
The T will actually roll end over end into the hole (when hit with a square putter face on the correct line with good path). All these are created with the string and Eye Line and taken to the golf course with the use of the T.
Here’s the deal…..
- If you only use part of this system – DON’T USE AT ALL!!!
- The T will not be effective if you don’t work with the string.
- The string will not be effective if you don’t have a good path (eyes over the ball, etc..)
- The Eye Line will not be effective to help you take your improved putting to the course unless you use the T.
This is a SYSTEM that works – I GUARANTEE IT!!! This is how you (and most professionals) improve your putting. The system is not hard – in fact, it is very simple and doesn’t take that much time. Every minute you practice using this system will improve your putting… which in turn will improve your scoring and decrease your handicap – SIGNIFICANTLY!!
I have worked with the string / T myself and with my schools for years and seen DRAMATIC improvement. But, it always bothered me that the issue of the putter face remaining square through impact and the golfer seeing his/her line when they got over the ball was still a problem. That is why we introduced a very simple but VERY effective tool – the EYE LINE.
Everyone – no matter where you game is now – you need to improve your putting. You need to create more consistency in your putting. It is absolutely the faster way to lowering your scoring.
FYI – if you would like all or parts (alumni who already have our string – we give to all school participants) of the GGA system – you can now see it: CLICK HERE
Remember the 3 Ps of Putting – Always Practice Your Putting with a Purpose