Fundaments of the Putting Stroke

Mark Oswald
General Manager
The Highlands at Dove Mountain in Marana, AZ.
Marana, AZ

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Eye line over the ball.  At address, your eyes should be looking down directly over the ball. Position your head, arms, putter and ball in such a position that will enable you to look at the ball and down your desired putting line

Set the clubface square with the target.  In the address position make sure the putter is set properly on the putting line. The toe and heel (opposite ends of the putter blade) should be in a straight line, square to the target.

Position the ball forward of center in your stance.  This position, slightly ahead of center, allows for the optimum solidness of contact in the putting stroke and maintains a consistent ball placement.

Keep body motion to a minimum.  The putting stroke is done with the arms and shoulders. The pendulum stroke used for putting initiates the stroke from the shoulders that swing the arms that swing the putter.  Keep the moving parts of your stroke to a minimum. Picture the arms on the clock, swinging back and forward, over and over.

Accelerate into the ball. Putting, like every golf shot, should be done with the club striking the ball at its highest speed of the swing. The backswing should be slower than the downswing. Accelerating into the ball at impact will help keep the clubface square and on line with your target. Your swing should be balanced, if you take the club back 10 inches you should follow through at least 10 inches. Use the length of your backswing to determine distance, a shorter putt should have a shorter backswing, as the putt lengthens so does your backswing length.

Hit the ball in the center of the clubface.  Hitting the ball off center will allow the clubface to open or close at impact. Marking the center of your clubface will help for alignment and in emphasizing this target for impact.

It must all be comfortable.  Find a putter, take the set up and make the stroke that is the most comfortable and repeatable for you. Consistency is the key to a good putting stroke.

Match your putting stroke to your full swing.  Your putting stroke should resemble your full swing. The tempo or pace of your swing should be compatible to that of your full swing. If you have a short quick golf swing, you should have a short quick putting stroke. Make your putting stroke more like your full swing.

Summary:  Putting is a very individualistic stroke, but it must meet some common fundamentals. Putting makes up from 45 - 65% of your score, is it getting this much of your practice time? Follow the fundamentals above to improve your putting and lower your score. 

For more help with your golf game, contact Mark Oswald at