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The Complete Beginner

The Complete Beginner's Guide to Putting

Putting is the single most important aspect of your golf game. Every hole is designed to allow for 2 putting strokes per hole. This means that if you can consistently average two putts per hole, then you will see drastic improvement both on the course and on your scorecard. 

By following the steps in this guide to putting, you will not only understand how to approach the green, but how to execute on the green as well.

Putting Expectations

Golf is the game where you must be honest with yourself if you ever hope to improve. That being said, if you can’t putt to save your life, that’s okay, but be honest about it so that you can get better.

You are not going to automatically become a pro putter without practicing. From time to time you might make some difficult putts, but only through spending dedicated time on the putting green will you see your putting skills grow. 

The average amateur male golfer putts about 40 times a round. That number is skewed by the number of great players, so in reality, 40 putts per round is part of a solid round.

That being said, if you can simply shave 2-4 putts off of your scorecard, you can raise the level at which you play the great game of golf.

Putting Reality

The reality of putting is that you are going to have good days and bad days. You are going to have good holes and bad holes within a single round. What becomes key to improving as a putter is consistency.

The Fundamentals of Putting


As is the case with your golf swing, your putting stance is key to setting you up for success. Put your feet shoulder-width apart, and align the rest of your body square to the ball. Your eyes should be directly over the ball, and once you find this stance, DO NOT MOVE. You want to keep your feet, hips, shoulders, and head square to the ball and still during the entire putting stroke. 


When it comes to how you grip the putter, there are both standard grips and unique grips. While nearly every teaching pro has a different grip preference, choose one that makes you feel the most confidence. This video by Rick Shiels shows you the most popular grips and how to putt with them.


The best putting strokes are those that are smooth and consistent. To achieve this consistent putt, you need a simple putting stroke that is easily replicable. 

As you are lined up, you want the putter to go back and then forth in a smooth motion. The further you pull the putter back, the farther the ball will go. To picture this back-and-forth transition, think of a pendulum. It moves steadily and consistently. This is how you want your putter motion to look and feel. 

While putting, make sure that the only moving parts of your body are your shoulders. Everything else needs to be still while putting the ball. 

Aiming the Putt

To roll a successful putt, you have to know both how and where to aim the ball. The best way to determine where to aim your putt is by first looking from behind the ball to see which way the green slopes.

Once you get an idea of the slope and speed of the green in between your ball and the cup, then you need to visualize the path that the ball should take on the way to drop in the cup.

The Putter

Putting is mainly about confidence. Using the right putter for you can give you the confidence you need to be a great putter on the course. 

When looking for a putter, you want to find something that you feel confident with, but also a putter that is comfortable for you. This combination is paramount when trying to improve on the green.

The Ball

Understanding how a golf ball will react when you putt will help you improve your overall putting game Three things affect how a golf ball rolls: your putting stroke, the conditions of the green, and physics. 

By far, the largest determinant of a successful roll of the golf ball is keeping the putter face square to the ball at impact. Maintaining this alignment is key and even a slight angle off of square can cause you to be several feet left or right of the cup.

Approaching the Green

You can help improve as a putter before you even get to the green. Knowing how to leave yourself with a makeable putt can completely change the level at which you putt. 

For example, when approaching the green, either from a typical approach shot or from a chip, you want the ball to end up below the hole if at all possible. This means that you would rather your first putt be uphill than downhill because uphill putts are easier to control.

That being said, you still want your ball to be as close to the hole as possible for your first putt on the green. But if possible, leaving yourself with an uphill putt is better than a downhill one. 

If you can consistently get your approach shot within 10 feet, preferably 5 feet, then you are going to see an instant improvement in your putting game as well.

Putting Routine

A severely underrated portion of a golfer’s putting game is their putting routine. A putting routine is something you do every time before you putt. This can be something as simple as a deep breath, or as complicated as a series of practice swings combined with breathing. Whatever your routine is, make sure you do it before every single putt. A putting routine will reinforce consistency in every putt and will build confidence at the same time. 

Don’t Give Up

As is the case when trying to improve any skill, you have to be willing to keep going when things are tough. Putting is the same way. You will have bad days and days when you will not want to practice. 

You must push past those obstacles and find it within yourself to keep working at it. This is the only way you are going to become a better putter.

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