To develop a quality putting game you need to attain a reasonable level of skill in the elements of distance control, direction and green reading. Very often, I believe golfers focus on building this skill set in an order that's not entirely conducive to having fun and lowering their score. So often I work with clients who have spent hundreds of hours honing their strokes in putting tracks or focusing on some technical aspect of slope recognition. Yet with all of this work they still don't make many putts. I too have fallen victim to perfectionist attitudes in the mechanics of swing path and club face. I've also dissected and over-analyzed every inch of a putt only to see my ball roll towards the hole with the conviction of a drunk lumbering down Main Street.
Over time what I've learned is that great putting is "all about the roll." That is, feeling a sense of flow and rhythm that puts a beautiful turf hugging roll on your golf ball. When the roll is pure and the contact is sound, predictable speed control becomes attainable. When contact and speed are absolutes, read and line mechanics take on a higher and more relevant level of importance.
You can argue that path and face influence contact and I, of course, agree. What I'm contending is over emphasis on the "how" sometimes works to the detriment of the "what." That's why with all my clients goal #1 is developing rhythmic, confident, free flowing strokes that make the ball feel good and act predictably. A pure roll improves speed, and with good pace you have the foundation for great putting.
Ben Crenshaw said, "Putting is an art, not a science." I like to believe great putting is both art and science sprinkled with a little bit of magic. When you look at the size of the cup, nuances in slope, differences in grass, variables in distance, and wind or circumstance, it's truly amazing how many putts are made at all. That's why I think a great putt is just as enjoyable as a smashed tee shot. The feeling of a perfect strike that finds the bottom of the cup elicits a level of joy only a golfer can resonate with.
The metronome drill seen in the video below is a great exercise that really works! Great putting involves a number of elements. Just remember, it all starts with the roll!
Make More Putts