Two Fundamentals for Solid Putting

Ben Hogan loved to play his practice rounds without putting. He would give himself points for fairways and greens and then, pick up his ball and go to the next tee. Mr. Hogan’s reasoning was – any novice could make a six foot putt, but it took a great player to consistently hit quality iron shots into birdie range. He believed there was way too much emphasis placed on putting, and never respected golf professionals who made their living by holing putts from everywhere. In fact, he once told Billy Casper, that if he couldn’t putt, he’d be selling hot dogs for a living. I’m sure it was after one of Casper’s legendary putting days where he may have nipped Hogan by a stroke or two. Putting is truly the great equalizer.

This should give hope to everyone out there aspiring to be a great golfer. Putting is the one part of the game that every golfer can do extremely well. It takes no superior athletic ability to make a ten foot putt or lag a forty foot snake to tap-in distance. Even with your golf swing performing at its peak,
you may not possess the ability to hit a 235 yard two iron or boom a drive 320 yards over a dogleg, but everyone possesses the ability to be a great putter. If you can’t reach a par five in two – it shouldn’t matter. A nice wedge shot and a solid putt is all you need to ensure a birdie. Let the putter
be your equalizer.

Here are two simple fundamentals, plus one easy practice routine, that will put you on the road to great putting. And of course, with great putting, comes lower scores.

Fundamental #1

Clap your hands for a solid grip. Without a putter, assume your normal putting stance and let your arms hang freely from your shoulders. Then, simply clap your hands together for a perfect grip. Notice – when your hands are together in a clapping motion – a couple key things happen naturally. First, the back of your left hand faces the target. Second, the palm of your right hand faces the target. Now, once you hold a putter – it doesn’t matter what you do with your hands – as long as they keep facing the same way. You can go cross-handed, split grip or normal. If you do this – at address, you will have the back of your left hand, palm of your right hand and putter face aimed at the target. This will ensure proper face position at impact as well – one important fundamental to great putting.

Fundamental # 2

Eyes over or slightly inside the ball (target line). With your eyes over the ball and the correct grip – your putter will be more apt to swing on the proper path. Assuming your grip is correct, if your eyes get too far over the ball, your putter will tend to cut across the ball and you will hit pulls. Conversely, if your eyes get too far inside the ball, your putter will tend to swing on an inside track and you will hit pushes. So, by getting your eyes directly over the ball, your putter will want to swing straight back and through to your target. However, if you are to err – err with your eyes inside the ball slightly. This is much better than setting up with your eyes outside the ball.

These two set-up fundamentals will give you the best chance to swing your putter on line with a square face. What to do with the rest of your stance? Just get comfortable.

Simple Practice Drill

One of the best and most efficient practice drills is to hit 5-foot putts on a line. Go to your local hardware store and pick up a “chalk line.” They are inexpensive and extremely effective. Use your chalk line to make a straight line from the hole on your practice green. And from there, just hit putts. Set up comfortably with the first two fundamentals and simply make putts from 5 feet right down the line. In no time, you will make almost every putt and learn everything you need to know about line and stroke. By starting the ball down this chalk line every time, you will quickly understand how the putter is supposed to swing and feel. Plus, you’ll gain a tremendous amount of confidence by watching ball after ball go in the hole.

So in review – clap your hands for a perfect grip, set your eyes over the ball and practice down a chalk line. I promise if you do these three things – you will make more putts. Good Luck!

47 Responses to “Two Fundamentals for Solid Putting”

  1. Barry T says:

    Hi Andy,

    Thanks for reminding me of this. I have been mising too many short putts lately and will try and follow your advice.



  2. Craiglawso says:

    Gday Andy

    Love you putting tips. Just one more thing. Don’t look up till you hear the ball roll into the hole.

    Love the golf rules.


  3. rick says:

    very interested in trying these techniques this week.
    will update my progress, asap.
    Thanks for the tips.

  4. BobbyJoe Hall says:

    Enjoy your articles tremendously………..keep ’em coming. Sun Jun 28,

  5. Jonathan Adole says:

    great lessons

  6. Jonathan Adole says:

    Your tips have greatly improved my golf. I just started playing golf in October 2008 and am yet to get my handicap. Every one I have played with in the last few weeks has been kept wondering. I just told them the secret and I guess they would have gotten in linked up.

  7. Mandla says:

    Hi Andy,

    Thanks for your simple tips on putting, it feels good.

  8. I use a 6″ plastic ruller with either edge pointing on the start line.
    Place the putter face on the 3″ spot to feel the right grip pressure while hovering with both hands during the short 3″ back and the 6″ forward stroke with the exact sweet spot moving over the ruller edge.

    The weight should be more on the left foot to prevent any swaying. The eyes should be parallel to the ground with eyes directly over the ball. Practicing this 6″ stroke with perfect travel over the edge of the ruller will provde a consistant result in this short hitting stroke. The necessary force can vary with the length of the back stroke and the green condition.

    The wrists and hands should let the arms and shoulders control the stroke without lower body movement.

  9. malik says:

    Thanks Andy, I am really benefitting from your tips. You are doing a great service to game of Golf. Keep it up.

  10. gerard carroll says:

    hi andy, have been reading your advice mails, just wondering about solid grips on putters, my problem tends to be constantly overhitting putts, line is good, but always past the hole, sometimes up to 5, 6 feet often not gimme’s coming back, I hold putter fairly firmly as well, does this add to problem?

  11. John Andrews says:

    I take into account…..grain of the green.
    I built a device to let me know if my colarbone was moving on ten footers in. Still colarbone…still head..
    still body…creates a stroke instead of a hit….listen to the ball drop unless you use Jack’s method of partly facing the target.

  12. elizabeth says:

    This is fun and very worthwhile (my drives are so much straighter) exactly do you mean by the following with regard to putting…….

    “if your eyes get too far over the ball” and also

    “if your eyes get too far inside
    the ball”


  13. Roger Yates says:

    Hi Andy
    This is not about putting but about the first of your 4 magic moves. I recently started to use it as a matter of course and I have to say the difference is unbelievable. I was a total sceptic and thought it was yet another golf lesson rip off, however over a period of a month I have knocked anywhere between 6 and 8 shots of my game and the consistancy of shot is amazing. Thankyou.

  14. burzil dube says:

    Hi Andy,
    I am based in the Zimbabwean town of Hwange and have just started practising playing golf.
    I am looking for someone who can donated a second hand full set of golf clubs and a bag.

  15. LordsOfTheSwings says:

    Hi Andy,
    I always pull my short putts,any good tips to helps…

  16. Michael Black says:

    Ah! Putting!

    Not the easiest stroke with which to be consistent – try this:

    When walking onto the green to putt, imagine having a ball in your right (left) hand and throwing it under arm to the hole. To get said ball into said hole, you need to face to one side or the other of the direct line if you anticipate borrow. The strength of throw required to hole the imaginary ball is in proportion to the strength of stroke required to do so. How do you think crown-green bowlers manage to play their game?

  17. Bud Roberts says:

    Putting Fundamentals is exactly what I was looking for. I have tried this and it has made most of the greens a two putt green. I have reduced my score just from this information. I can see dropping 9 strokes just from this information eventually…thanks again for this.

  18. Donna Dingwell says:

    Hi Andy,

    Thanks for the tips, it’s great to know that my Instructor is right on track. My first putting lesson reiterated exactly what you said about eyes over the ball. Looking forward to more tips! Thanks again

  19. John Bloomer says:

    Andy, thanks for the great article on putting. Played yesterday and had 31 putts….is that good? What is a good target on 18 holes? Keep the tips coming. They are great! I will be clapping on the course from here on out!

  20. Al.K.Hamilton says:

    Hi Andy I must thank you for all the help with my game .I have used the four step rules and tips for 6 weeks and have taken10 strokes off my h/cap from92- 93 to 83and I will try get under the 80 in the next4 weeks keep up the great articles and tip we need them all many thanks for all your help kind regards big AL brampton ontario canada

  21. Bruce Stewart says:

    Great tips on putting. just played my first round and didn’t do too badly but missed loads of easy puts. Will put into practice your tips ASAP. Now can you send me some helpful hints on what to do around the greens- within 20 to 30 feet.



  22. Alex says:

    Hi Andy:

    Maybe these putting tips will help. I use to be an excellent putter. It went away about 3 years ago. At times I can’t make a putt from 18″ let along 3 or 4 feet. I have gone to a 48″ long putter and it has helped. I wish I could use my Scotty Cameron again with confidence. My handicap use to be a plus 1.4 and now I have gone up to a minus 2.7. I will try these drills again. If you have any other suggestions I would love to hear them.

  23. Robert Turner says:

    Hi Andy,
    Thanks for your latest putting tips. I already have a similar drill, but instead of a chalk line, I attach yellow string to 2 meat skewers, with the line hovering 2/3 inches of the ground and then putt underneath and along the line to the hole, as you say with practice my scores have been reduced considerably.
    I look forward to your tips, so keep up the good work Andy.
    Kind Regards

  24. Mike Dunkin says:

    Hello Andy: I just started to work at a golf course and hope that being able to golf as much as I want will improve my game. I will implement some of the things I have read from your teaching teckniques. About a month and a half ago I was practicing my putting on a putting green. I have practiced every way there is except closing my eyes. Well I did just that, I placed three balls aproximately 12′ from the hole. I looked at the hole and traveled my eyes back to the ball on the path I felt the ball would roll to go in the hole, I did this three times so the path would be in my minds eye. I then closed my eyes and imagined the ball going in the hole. I putted and the first two balls rolled to the hole and dropped in. The third ball when I putted it it went on the right side of the hole, missing by one inch and stopping dead senter of the hole for distance.

  25. Ken says:

    I have to disagree and educate you concerning the chalk line drill.

    For one….not a lot of courses are going to appreciate you leaving a chalk
    line on their fine putting green.

    Two- If you have ever used a chalk line you will realize that you have to
    squirt powdered chalk into it to make it work . It is very messy and gets on
    your hands and your clothing, either when you fill it or “ping” it or put it
    away, not to mention you have to buy powdered chalk and store it, which also causes a mess.

    Thirdly- the chalk line is difficult to read only touching the tip of the
    blade of grass, and after you put over it a few times it gets even harder to

    Four- you have to store the chalk line in a plastic bag so it doesn’t get
    all over your car or inside your bag.

    A far better and more practical method of achieving the same thing easier
    and better is

    Take two regular pencils………..slightly sharpen the ends not to a lead

    Take a length of string or colored yarn and tie it at the top of the pencil
    just below the eraser-where you have made an indention around the
    circumference of the pencil.

    Now you have a putting line that you can stand over and place your putter
    under. No fuss and no unwanted lines on the green after you leave. And it stores easily in your golf bag ready for us. Simply secure the two pencils together along with the string by wrapping a rubber band around them.

    Works great, costs pennies.

  26. Gerald Page says:

    Again, Andy has communicated a great simple process, easily understandable, not complicated as so many instructions can be! One can immediately take this knowledge and turn these instructions into improved putting skills on the practice green. Well done to Andy and His Team!

    Gerald Page

  27. Bill Purchase says:

    Well Andy you are very right with what you have sent me , about putting you do have to clap the hands together and grip the putter correctly, with your eye seeing the ball to the hole on it’s line. I found this out on a course I have not played for awhile and the putts some add up all right. I was with head overthe ball but linning up on the outside and missing putts I should have been getting, it took 5 holes to realise what I was doing. Keep up the good work Andy and team. Thank you all bill

  28. Graham Willmott says:

    OK Andy you are right, but if you don’t get there you cannot score low. The more you take to get there the more pressure you put on yourself to putt out.

    The main reason many of us putt poorly is that we can see the line by first inspection then at address we change our mind. The same applies to snooker.

    To much thinking.

  29. tom says:

    Great new golf swing, thank you Andy.Great tips, it really has been nice meeting you,my golf has improved more than I thought possible.

    Tom(age 75)

  30. Peet says:

    Hi Andy

    Thanks a lot for the advise on putting . Those two fundamentals is absolutely brilliant . I tried on friday and saturday and it brought down my number of shots by 8 . Now with the swing and putting advise Im going to break 80 in this very month . Can’t wait to get back on the course to practise more and more . Only thing I need to work on now is the backspin of the ball when I chip close to the green .

    Thank you very much for all your advise .


  31. ian thomson says:

    I liked your article on putting, but I still think good putters are more born than made. Even so, sound technique will always help.
    I have always doubted the recommendation to have the eyes directly over the ball. You may think you have them there, while in fact they are beyond the ball, and the result will in most cases be unsatisfactory. I prefer to have my eyes a little inside the line, which is then the hypotenuse of a very slim isosceles triangle. This helps to have the blade come in from inside to square at impact and on following the circular plane. Since, as I see it, a putt is just a miniature full shot, “straight back and straight through” is a violation of the circular movement. One other thing. Two ophthamologsts I know have told me that to see a line properly there must be triangulation, and that is possible only when the eyes are behind the ball at address, not over it.

  32. Jerry says:

    Hi Andy,

    I look forward to recieving Your E-MAILS …..I must spend at least an hour on each one,because of all the info. You send along with Your very good tips…..The putting drills look very promising….I’m working hard on the 4 magic moves…..I’m feeling more and more comfortable and I believe “08′ will be My best year ever.

    Thanks again Andy,
    Jerry (Wisconsin)USA

  33. david berrisford says:

    Andy, I have only been playing for about six months, and my sports pedigree is not good. At school I couldn’t kick a football or throw a cricket ball (and at nearly 50 I decide to play golf!) although I read your ideas with much interest, I think that teaching fairly non -sporty people how to play golf is a bit like teaching a robot how to walk i.e. you can learn the moves but you won’t have the style. I think this is particularly true of the business end of the golf swing (from the hip to hitting the ball) I personally would be interesed how to conceptualise this part of the swing arc and think more like a good player.

    Sorry this aint about putting…..thanks

  34. chenjensheng says:

    thanks a lot for your 2 fundamental tips about getting consistent putting. I have noticed lately that after using the 4 secrets moves, my percentage in getting in the green during the 2nd / 3rd shots has improved dramatically. only i found that the distance from the pin is not very consistent. Previously i seldom 3 putted, now because of some inconsistent moves , i may underput or overput with then 2nd put some distance which i find myself unsure of holing it. I will practice this move to be able to gauze the proper amount of force without being sure that may putter clubface is square to the pin or line of target. again, thanks

  35. John Maguire says:

    Excellent articles – looking forward to more.

  36. Len Rideout says:

    Hi Andy,

    I have read the book and listened to the voice recordings. Yesterday 11th Sept was my day when almost everything came together. I shot a two under par 70 playing off 19 for 38 stableford points. I have not played well for some time and in fact come from a h’cap of 16 to 19 in about three years because of my poor performance. Since downloading your course I have got to the point where the wrist break is feeling quite natural and yesterday I surprised my playing colleagues by hitting all of my shots straight. I do tend to forget the forward press sometimes but I am sure that will also become a natural part of the swing in the not too distant future. My follow through, which is perfect on a practice swing, is not very good when I am hitting the ball and I am working on this aspect of my game. I am not necessarily looking to reduce my handicap although of course that would be a bonus if it happens. However if I can just play to my current handicap on a more consistent basis I will be more than pleased.

    Len Rideout

    Hertfordshire UK

  37. kenheapy says:

    Best and worst ball practice game sounds great can’t wait to try it!

  38. jim baskin says:

    Hello Andy;

    Haven’t really got the time to get all this done yet but it won’t be long. love your tips and I read all I get the time for. Working 14 hours a day doesn’t let you do much. I try to keep up though. HAVE A GOOD DAY AND KEEP DOING THE GOOD THINGS.

  39. Scott McRae says:

    Great putting article next time I’m out to practice I’ll remember to keep my vision on the inside ball line. I also like to do what I call a pencil stance in which I stand with my feet close to together heal to heal toe to toe for my practice stroke this forces me to swing more evenly and I can remember the correct stroke before I widen my stance for the stroke.


  40. robert dorrington says:

    I have just started playing golf last year and all your tips are valuable to me as I have improved lately going from 120 down to 95 due to practising from your advice, thankyou.

  41. lee says:

    Dear Andy

    I respect Ben Hogan’s comment. I am a social golfer so in no postion to warrant my comment as much as Ben does.

    At the end of the day it is the score that counts when you are in a competition or you are playing for small bet.

    3 most important clubs that great golf legends had listed were wedge, putter, and the driver – not in order of merit.

    You captured a strong iron player to put in birdie range with a easy putt; I agree. I observe all great players win tournaments when they need to go to the wire; the one with the minimum number of putts wins the trophy. I believe all areas of golf are important from the driver down to the putter.

    I agree the strong iron player on par 3s and 4s is slightly more important ; it gets you on the green in regulation. The ball landing would falls for long range putts ; and with acquired long range putting skill would give you an edge to save par. It was said in big money tournament “that a putt that fails to go in cost me $300,000”.

    Being all equal it is the putt that determines position from 1 to 2 ; from 2 to 3 ; from 3 to 4 so on….etc.

    Just a genuine golf lover here.

    Anthony Lee from Singapore

  42. Steve McMahon says:

    Look forward your articles and especially your tips. I try them all and some help even a duffer like me

  43. John Marrone says:

    I look forward to your e-mails with all your great tips. Since I suscribed my game has improved, please keep the e-mails coming.

  44. Michael says:

    Love your tips very informative , interesting and easy to understand and execute. Please keep up the good work, you are doing a Great Job. Can’t wait to get out and practice.
    Regards and Thanks Michael from Australia

  45. David Hughes says:

    Cheers Andy. Have just got your e mails will have a go. Regards David.

  46. Glen Sprankle says:

    andy i love getting your golf tips, your doing a great job. i am so glad i signed up, it has helped so much. thank you. glen from illinois.

  47. Andy Brown says:

    Great article George. Explains the two key fundamentals all golfers should understand.

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