Golf InstructionMarch 17, 2013

How To Putt Like The Pros

3 keys for getting set and starting the ball on line

Left: Drop a ball from between your eyes. It should land on top of the ball you're addressing. Right: Posture and stance width can change, but your eyes should stay over the ball.

Left: Drop a ball from between your eyes. It should land on top of the ball you're addressing.

Right: Posture and stance width can change, but your eyes should stay over the ball.

SEE, THEN FEEL

If you're looking for precise setup advice on stance, posture or how much to flex your knees, you've come to the wrong place. Just keep the ball the same distance from you at address--so your eyes are directly over it--then set up in a way that feels comfortable. With your eyes over the ball (above, left), you're in position to see the line, and if you're comfortable, you can concentrate on feel. My posture and stance width will change during a round (above), depending on how my body feels, but my eyes are always over the ball.

Pick The Entry Point

PICK THE ENTRY POINT

Apply your read by being specific about where you want the ball to enter the hole. On a breaking putt, pick your entry point, then stick a tee in the edge of the cup there, as Ron is doing (right). The entry point for left-to-right breakers should be on the left side of the hole, and for right-to-left breakers on the right side. Above, the perfect entry is 7 o'clock from Ron's view, where the tee is. Practice putting to the tee. If your speed is just right, you can glance the ball off the tee and still hole it.

Go Low To The Hole

GO LOW TO THE HOLE

One of the keys that clicked for Rory McIlroy when we worked with him recently was to focus on moving his left hand low and toward the hole through the stroke. To amplify this feel, practice with just your left hand, holding your left shoulder with your right hand (see Dave Jr., right). This reminds you to keep your shoulders level, and the one-handed stroke encourages you to swing the putter without the left wrist breaking down.

DAVE STOCKTON won the 1970 and '76 PGA Championship. He and his sons, Ron and Dave Jr., work with Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy and Yani Tseng, among other tour players.