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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Improve Your Alignment on the Green

My next few posts will be focused on improving your putting.  I am going to begin by providing a few thoughts on proper alignment.  A properly fit putter is paramont when it comes to alignment.  If your putter is not the correct length or lie for you, proper alignment will be difficult to consistently achieve.  When you take your set up, make sure you place the ball in the middle of the line or dot on your putter. 


The number one cause of missed putts is poor alignment!  Short putts are where you are most vulnerable so I will emphasize this area.  For example, on a short putt, let's say inside five feet, you feel you should make this putt most of the time.  But, if you are lined up an inch off line, you are not going to make the putt.  If you have a thirty foot putt, you would like to make the putt, but the chances are you are not.  So the idea is to get the ball as close as possible.  If you are lined up an inch off line, you can still be fairly close to the hole as long as your speed is good.  It's not to say you shouldn't focus on your alignment on long putts, just begin with the short putts first to begin the process.

The best way to practice your alignment inside five feet is to use two alignment rods as pictured.


Find a level putt and place a rod on each side of the hole.  Simply put your ball in the middle of the rods about three feet from the hole and start putting.  The rods will also help you line your feet and shoulders parallel to your target.  You will find your path will improve as well.  If your putter is moving outside the rods on this short putt, you will be able to correct immediately.


              It will be easy to see if your putter is aligned to the target using the rods as a guide.



Another great tool to use is a yardstick.  Again, find a level putt and place the yardstick on the edge of the hole.  Place your ball on the yardstick and make putt after putt. 


Making short putts is a habit you can develop.  It does not matter which devices you use for alignment, but use something that will provide a line or path to the hole.  After using the devices for a few minutes, your confidence will be soaring and your alignment will improve immensely.  Now take the aids away and practice making short putts on your own.  I think you will now have a good "picture" of proper alignment.

When I am checking a student's alignment during a lesson, I use a laser light and a target.  The laser provides instant feedback as to the position of your putter face.


Once your are lined up, you are free to make a smooth stroke with no compensations.  You will make more short putts and better align the long putts too.  See my previous post regarding reading break and how to line up those longer putts.








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