You’re Three Steps Away From Draining More Putts

March 3, 2016

The best putting strokes are simple: uncomplicated and easy to repeat, just like the ones you see the pros make. Let’s look at the 2015 Tour numbers from the all-important scoring zone of 10 feet and in (below).

Sure, we’re talking about the world’s best players, but you—yes you—can put this well, too. It doesn’t take crazy talent to stroke it pure from short range. Just tweak your technique and power your stroke with your body, not your hands. Copy the positions at right, and with some practice, you’ll relegate your hands to a supporting role. Less hand action means less manipulation— and a lot more makes.

                   Distance                    PGA Tour make %
                   < 5 FT                               96.6
                   3–5 FT                               87.7
                  5–10 FT                               56.6


As you set up to the ball, make sure the shaft and your forearms line up (photo below), and that your wrists are neither bowed nor cocked. To get it right, you may have to bend more at the hips or stand a bit taller. Do what it takes. With this arrangement, your hands are less likely to move independently of your arms, leading to a squarer clubface and putts that start on-target.

Neutral hands at address means neutral hands when you putt.


Line up the shaft and your forearms at address to take your hands out of the stroke.


A final setup adjustment: Point your sternum directly at the ball. Together with the moves in Step 1, you’re now set up to start back simply by moving the triangle that your shoulders and arms form. Your stroke has structure and integrity—and zero hand influence.

Let your arms and the putter move as a single unit.


Point your sternum at the ball and move the putter with the triangle formed by your shoulders and arms.


Maintain your triangle and keep the butt end of the club pointing at the same spot on your torso from start to finish. This establishes a fulcrum, which is critical— it lets you deliver the putterhead to the ball on a consistent path and rise angle. You’ll get reliable loft and rollout, too, giving you Tour-caliber distance control.

Ask your pro if you should try a “counter-balanced” putter, which makes it easier to maintain a fulcrum.


In a body-powered stroke, the grip points to the same spot on your torso from start to finish.