Line and Speed Are All You Need

Greg Ellis
Great Golf Academy
Goodyear, AZ

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Putting is the most important part of the game and the least focused upon by most golfers. It is not as cool or sexy to practice putting as it is to pull out your Titleist 915 Driver and bomb it 320 yards. Putting can account for up to 50% of your shots taken in a round of golf. With this in mind, the following tip is another instance where practical applications of the fundamentals of golf will be the best practice. Talk with any short game guru and they will tell you the “line and speed” are major contributors to the success of putting.

Aligning to putt and lining up a putt is no different than getting lined up for a shot from the tee or fairway. This is visual. With putting you will pick a “target point” to stroke the putt toward. I like to set the putter down behind the ball with my right hand. My eyes see the line better when I do this. The hole is the final destination; but how it reaches its final destination is by way of the “target point.” If a putt is straight then the “target point” and the final destination are the same.

Once you have envisioned the correct line and found that “target point” you will use the line or markings on the golf ball to be on the same line toward that “target point.” Next you will use the alignment mark on your putter and place it on the same line as the golf ball line. If there is no line on your putter, make sure the face of the putter is perpendicular to the line on the golf ball.

Now we need to conquer speed. Speed is feel or touch. It is difficult to teach feel. Speed is practice and memorization. You don’t technically think about how hard to shoot a free throw; you just shoot it. You practice repetitively from certain distances to know how far to take the putter back and through to have the golf ball travel that proper distance.

Speed should be practiced uphill, downhill, left to right and right to left to determine how hard to strike a putt. Once you have the speed control dialed in we cycle back to the line again. Stroke the ball on the right line with the correct speed and the ball will go in the hole every time.

Putting is like the chicken and the egg saying; which came first? Which is more important the line or speed? This is a point of contention among the best golf minds. Remember that 100% of all putts missed, that do not hit something in the way, are due to the fact that one of the two key components discussed above was not successfully attained. In fact you only need to remember one thing about putting – “line and speed are all you need” – to be a very good putter. Practice this and if you have any challenges with this, contact mw at

In the meantime, be sure to tune in to the Bunker to Bunker Golf Show every Saturday morning from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. on ArizonaSports 98.7 FM or on the internet at for more tips and updates on all of the week’s golfing news in the Valley and around the world. Join Greg, Jim Hill, and Marty Monaghan for a comprehensive look at the golf world for the week.