Make Better Putting Strokes

Tom Velarde
Manager
Black Mesa Golf Club
La Mesilla, AZ
tvelarde@blackmesagolfclub.com

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This is the time of year when everyone in the sunshine of Arizona knows you made a very good choice for a place to live. I can tell you that it’s pretty difficult to play our lovely game in the snow. Not so much that the cold presents the problem, it’s finding your wayward shots, and no matter what color golf ball is used it’s just hard to find them.

I have a trained ball seeking dog named Putter, a long hair Dachshund, that can find them but I made the mistake of getting a very short legged dog which makes for a very, very long round.  She (Putter) does tend to be very good at reading putts, while I tend to be very bad at stroking them on the line picked out.

This leads me to this article on helping you make better putting strokes. We, too many times, will make the stroke using only our hands. When we try to use the “big muscles” we only compound the problem of wayward strokes with little to no good results.  Here are some very simple things to help you get better.

1)  Grip the putter with the palms both facing each other, this way the hands will be working with each other. If you’re a person who does not like palms facing each other, the next best thing would be to have the trail hand square to the putter face as you most likely will use that hand to “strike” your putts.

2)  Make an effort to get a putter fit to your height and posture. I personally like to see the player in a posture where the back is flat and the arm hang is neutral, meaning that the hands will be directly under the shoulder sockets.

3)  Position the ball under the lead eye (the one closest to the hole) and check to see if both eyes are on this line. A very common fault is a backswing that is not starting on the intended line, as most of us will follow the eye line.

4)  When we start our rounds, we all drop a few balls on the putting green and stroke a few putts before our tee time. Change this next time out and go through your routine on those putts instead of just putting them. Practice like you play.

Putting has so much more to it but this is just a very simple start to a complex process. Visit your PGA Pro and take a lesson that will show dramatic improvement in your game.

If you want to learn more on how to make good strokes, we will be at Vista Verde Golf Club in Arizona for the first M2M clinic. Email Tom at tvelarde@blackmesagolfclub.com, the clinic will be held on January 19th and 20th. Playing lessons are also available, email for details.

Putting is a practice intensive process. If you’re like me it tends to get somewhat boring, that is why I have Putter, she makes everything a game. And, a secondary benefit is when I get home she is the first to tell me if I am in trouble with my bride, I highly suggest you get the early warning system.  

Tom Velarde is the Director of Golf at Black Mesa Golf Club in Espanola, New Mexico, just northwest of Santa Fe. For more information or to reach Tom, email tvelarde@blackmesagolfclub.com.