2005: For Your Game - For great putting, trust instinct

Good vision, creative imagination and proper use of your eyes are crucial to great putting. As with the best putters on tour, you must learn to read greens well, see your line clearly, and trust what your eyes tell you before you step into the address position and stroke the ball. Below are a number of tips that will help alleviate trouble on the greens.

Obtain as much information about the putt as possible by walking around the putt from different angles and seeing where the apex of the break occurs. Remember that your first look or instinctive hunch about where the ball wants to go is usually your best. Sometimes players get too analytical and “psyche” themselves out of the correct line when they had it right the first time they viewed it.

Get down low and behind the ball to obtain the best perspective. Four to six feet behind the ball is generally a good spot to read the ball-line. The next time you watch Tiger Woods on television, notice that he squats down low so that he can see the slope of the green more clearly.

Make a firm decision where you want the ball to start and where it needs to go in order to follow the break into the hole. Commit to this decision, and do not alter it when approaching the ball.

When approaching the ball, do not lose your perspective. Stay committed to your “low view” perspective and do not allow yourself to doubt or mistrust your read.

Aim your putter squarely along your target line and run your eyes up and down the line to gain an appreciation of the total distance the ball needs to travel. Tracking the line with your eyes provides you with a stronger visual signal of your ball-line which makes it easier to start your putt on the correct launch point.

Upon your last look at the hole or apex spot, move your eyes back to the ball and putt without delay.

As you watch the ball roll down the putting line remember to hold your finish. If the ball goes into the hole, you have a visual success picture to put into your memory bank. If the putt misses, it is vital to watch what it does as it rolls by the hole. Most short comeback putts are missed because a golfer did not watch the first putt stop rolling.

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