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Putting - A Key to Lowering Your Golf Scores

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/27/2007 | Sports

Mastering the short game in golf is a key to lowering your scores. Without a doubt, if you can master your putting game, you can dramatically cut strokes off your game.

Good putting starts with your grip. You need to pick a grip that is comfortable for you and allows you to easily control your putter. The reverse overlapping grip is the most widely used.

The index finger on your left hand overlaps the little finger of your right hand. Many golfers prefer the index finger to overlap more than one finger.

The thumbs are straight down the front of the shaft. Your hands should be at the top of the club, or close to it. Gripping too low on the shaft is not recommended because of the longer distance the club would have to be swung for the longer putts.

Your feet should be about shoulder width apart. Stand close to the ball with your arms close to your body and your eyes directly above the ball. Bend your knees slightly and bend your elbows.

The swing should be a relaxed swing. Your arms and your hands move together through the ball in a perpendicular motion. You want to stroke the ball with the middle of the putter head. Keep your eyes on the ball at all times and you should see the putter hit the ball. Do not look up to follow the flight until you have completed your swing.

Adjust the length of the swing according to the distance of the putt. The swing mechanics remain the same for short putts and for long putts. The length of the swing is all that changes.

When lining up the putt, the putter head should be square to the target. If you anticipate a break to the right, for instance, your intended target will be above the hole. How far above the hole you aim depends on the break of the green. Your putter head will not be square to the hole but will be square to the point above the hole where you expect the break to occur.

You want to practice putting before you start your round. Too many golfers hit the practice green and begin trying to drop long putts. It will be to your advantage to start your practice putts close to the hole. Get this stroke down until you are comfortable and the ball is dropping consistently.

Now begin to move away from the hole and continue putting. As you get more comfortable, begin to move farther away. For most weekend golfers, the objective is to get long putts as close as possible to the hole to make the putt more manageable. If you can consistently make putts from a short to midrange distance, you will easily lower your golf scores.