The act of making a putting stroke is a simple art. The basics can make or break you on the green. Get those right, and much of your technique will fall into place. It will free you up to focus on what’s happening on the green itself, and breed the kind of comfortable confidence that all great putters have.
Joe Plecker, director of instruction, Landings Club, Savannah, Georgia, Golf Digest Best in State Teacher

How to make a putting stroke: The basics

  • Weight balanced on both feet
  • Place ball position forward
  • Check your posture at setup
  • Match tempo back and through
  • Keep your head down

Putting Stroke Basics No.1: Balance your feet

Getting balanced on your feet gets you into something called skeletal alignment. But without getting too deep into the jargon, it helps keep you stable, and it eliminates pressure throughout your body to relieve tension. When you start your putting stroke in a tense, imbalanced, rigid position, your ability to hit delicate putts will suffer.

Putting Stroke Basics No.2: Ball position forward

All good putters hit up on the ball. Anywhere between two degrees and four degrees. With your sternum located in the middle of your balanced stance, placing the ball slightly forward will ensure the ball is past the bottom of the arc, and ensure a slight rise.

Putting Stroke Basics No.3: Check your posture

No two postures will be the same in putting, but again, it’s all about stability and comfort. With your knees slightly bent, tilt your hips down until your fingertips touch the top of your kneecaps, then grip your putter. I like my posture to allow my arms to not be excessively bent, but they’re not arrow straight either.

Putting Stroke Basics No.4: Match stroke tempo

The feeling during the stroke should be one of letting the putterhead fall. All acceleration is due to gravity. When I see players trying to jam the putter through, it twists the clubhead open or closed. It’s not just their distance control that suffers, it’s their direction, too.

Putting Stroke Basics No.5: Keep head down

It’s bad advice for your full swing, but good on the putting green. I see a lot of players jump out of their posture as soon as they hit the putt. You should still be comfortable in your posture long after the ball has gone, and the putterhead has stopped moving completely.