Proper Putting Stroke Tips

Nothing can ruin a round of golf like a poor day on the greens. Even if you hit the ball well, missed short putts and three putt greens are tough to overcome. If you want to score well you need to putt well, and to do that you need to make sure your stroke has the proper putting mechanics.

While easier said than done, crafting the best putting stroke you can is crucial to improving your golf game. This article will teach you the most important golf putting techniques, how to properly set up to a putt, give a sense of what the putting stroke should feel like, and inspire more confidence in your stroke. With a little practice, you will make more putts and see your scores drop in no time.

1. The Basics of Putting

Putting is part art and part science. It takes time and practice to gain the feel and confidence in your stroke needed to get the ball in the hole on a regular basis. But, while putting can certainly be frustrating when it isn’t going well there are a few key basics to remember.

Alignment and Square Face Contact

Golf Putting Alignment

There are many ways to putt successfully using different grips and strokes.  The key principles however are simple and universal.

  1. Your putter face needs to be aligned squarely at set-up
  2. Your stroke needs to return the putter face squarely at impact.  
  3. Your putts need to be hit in the center of the putter face for the proper roll and distance.

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2. Setting Up the Putt

The most accepted way to set-up to hit a putt is with your feet, legs, arms and shoulders all square to your target line. This is the easiest way to align your putter face squarely. Your weight should be equally balanced and your stance should be stable enough that you don’t sway back or forth during your stroke.  This is the best way to return your putter face squarely and hit a solidly struck putt in the center of the face.

Putting Grip

Proper Putting Grip

As anyone who watches professional golf can tell you, there are many ways you can grip the putter - 10 fingers, interlocking, reverse overlap and cross-handed grips all work, or many players now use a claw or more unconventional grip like the arm lock.  The most important thing is that you like the way the putter feels in your hands and arms. Avoid too much tension in your grip and make sure your hands and arms are working together not against each other. Both cause inconsistencies in your stroke and lead to more missed putts.

Arm positioning

Golf Putting Arm Position

Once you find a grip you like and you set up in a square stance get your arms in a sturdy position to work together. Your elbows can be slightly bent.  Make sure it feels as though your arms, hands, chest, and shoulders can all work as a cohesive group as we want to avoid moving pieces in a proper putting stroke.  You want to maintain the triangle that is formed by your arms at set-up all through your stroke.  This is done by using your chest and shoulders to move the putter head back and through.

If you’re using the Swing Align Short Game tool, you’ll instantly know when your arms are set properly if the alignment rod is parallel to your target. You will also be able to visualize the triangle and keep it together by slightly squeezing your arms against the Swing Align device. It’s the perfect tool to help you feel comfortable over your putts and develop a consistent stroke.

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Putting Posture

Putting Posture

While golfers have found success in a manner of different putting postures, it is important to follow one key principle. Bend from the waste until your eyes are just inside to directly over the ball. This is absolutely vital if you want to give yourself the best chance at a correct putting stroke. Avoid feeling too hunched and crowded or too tall to where you have to reach for the ball.

Now that you’re in a good posture, check again to make sure your feet are parallel to the target. Lay the Swing Align alignment rod at your feet and make sure your toes match up with the rod. Some people prefer to have their lead foot slightly open which is ok but for most golfers a square set-up is better.

3. Putting Backstroke

Golf Putting Stance

With your eye line and alignment set, make sure that your chest and arms are in the triangle position we talked about earlier. The Swing Align Short Game will keep your arms and chest in that position so we recommend practicing with the tool regularly. Getting your setup down is all well and good, but now you actually need to make the stroke. Like in a full golf swing tempo is important to your putting stroke. There is no need to rush so make a smooth backstroke and through-swing varying the length of your stroke depending on the distance of your putt. You should take the putter away down the line of your putt and for longer putts let the putter swing slightly to the inside along a gentle arc. Do not manipulate the face of the putter with your hands. Rely on maintaining the triangle between your arms and chest to keep the putter face square.

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4. Putting Contact

Putting Stroke

On the through stroke to the ball be sure to maintain consistent speed through impact, don’t de-accelerate!  Strive to hit each putt in the center of the putter face.  This produces the best roll and most controllable and consistent distance.  At impact the putter face needs to be square to your target line.  Having a square face at impact and hitting the ball in the center of the face requires some practice.  The new Swing Align Goal Post device, available in February 2020, is a great way to groove the proper impact!

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Learn Proper Putting Technique with Swing Align!

It takes a lot of time, but a proper putting stroke will save you strokes and some frustration on the golf course. A good putt can always make up for a bad shot.  Practice your setup and stroke with the Swing Align Short Game product and hitting putts with the new Swing Align Goal Post, and shop the full Swing Align collection for all your training aid needs. 

Swing Align Goal Post

The Swing Align Golf Instruction Blog is a great resource for a variety of golf swing tips and golf drills to help you improve your game. You’ll find lessons on how to hit a draw, how to eliminate a golf slice, golf chipping tips and more! Any golfer will find these golf swing lessons useful, even if you don’t own a Swing Align golf training aid. But if you do own a Swing Align, you’ll learn how to use it to improve key fundamentals including alignment, posture, rotation, swing plane and connection. The red button at the top of the page will take you to the Swing Align YouTube channel where you’ll find even more golf swing instruction.