Play Your BestOctober 17, 2019

Two keys to help you roll every putt on line

Walter Iooss Jr.
Walter Iooss Jr.

The putting stroke is the smallest swing in golf, which makes it relatively simple—but also challenging. Let me explain. On putts, you don’t have much time to compensate for errors in the setup or backstroke. In fact, your address position largely determines whether you hit a good putt or a bad one.

Two positions in the setup matter most. First, you want the shaft directly in line with your forearms (above). Why? Because from there, the clubface won’t rotate much during the stroke. If the shaft is on a flatter plane than your forearms, the face will tend to fan open in the backstroke. Technically, I like no more than 3 degrees of opening going back. That makes it easy to return the face square, which is your No. 1 priority in putting. So think of your forearms as an extension of the shaft.

The second key is setting your eyes slightly inside the ball, which you can see from this downtarget view. Picture a vertical line dropped from your eyes: It should touch the heel of the putter. A popular tip in putting is “eyes over the ball,” but that can distort your perception and lead to poor aim or the putterhead moving to the outside on the backstroke.

Your eyes over the heel pre-sets a stroke that moves slightly to the inside going back, on line at impact, and slightly inside going through. That path, along with minimal face rotation, gives you control of where the ball will roll.

—WITH PETER MORRICE

TIPS FOR THE WEEKEND

Need Help? Just Ask

▶ Every Friday in my online clinic for Golf Digest Schools, I present a lesson for average golfers. Topics like hitting the ball solidly or fixing common faults or controlling wedge shots— plenty of short game, too. I invite you to watch these shows, but even better, email me your questions at Michael.Breed@golfdigest.com. Tell me who you are and what you need help with, and I’ll try to give you some answers on the show. I like to end each clinic by breaking down a viewer’s swing on video. So send me a video clip of your swing, and let’s see what you need to do to start playing better golf. You can watch this week’s episode by going to golfdigest.com/live.

RELATED: Why you can't putt: 4 great tips from Dave Stockton


WATCH: GOLF DIGEST VIDEOS