Putting at its simplest form is a pendulum. You probably know what a pendulum is, that thing on top of your piano that goes back at forth at perfect tempo.
But how do you putt like that? The human body isn’t made like a pendulum, there are actually moving parts such as your head, shoulders, arms, and hands.
Well, today I’ve found a great way to help everyone who reads this humble little golf blog to putt better.
If you’ve putted with a belly-putter or a long putter, you probably notice that it’s fairly like a pendulum, your putter swinging from a center point, your belly or your chest.
But how do you re-create that pendulum swing without a belly-putter or long putter on a regular 36-inch putter?
I know some pros use their “imaginary” point on their chest as the center point. But believe me, there’s lots of things that can go wrong plus that’s not gonna work for the weekend warrior.
Instead use your left elbow (for right-handed golfers) as the center point. I did this today on the putting green today and started sinking like every putt!
Your left elbow is a great center point for your putting stroke as it eliminates the rest of your body. I don’t care how you putt but next time you putt, try using your left elbow as the point that your putting revolves around.
One more tip, a putting stroke should naturally open and close on its own plane. Yes, a putting stroke has a “plane” just like a full swing, the more consistent you can keep this, the truer you can roll the golf ball.
Now try this natural open and closing action while keeping your left elbow as the pivot point, then you’ve got some great consistency.
Well, folks, I’ve moved into my new place that has a “yard” finally. It’s a small yard but one of the first things I did was to build my own DIY backyard putting green.
I used to work at the golf course so I know a little bit about growing grass but this DIY putting green was just something created out of my head after doing some research online.
There’s a lot of crap information out there telling you that you need a drainage system, well, I think that’s overkill for your backyard.
Instead, you can use some basic stuff to put together a small DIY putting green for about $100.
Of course, my putting green isn’t finished by all means but let me share with you what I did in just 3 hours to make a mini putting green.
Also, I don’t really need a huge putting green, I just need a small putting green so I can practice some short putts 10 feet in, which is what I practice most anyways and the most important putts.
First, you will need to get some putting green grass. If you live in a hot weather southern area like Texas, you will want to grow some bermuda grass.
If you live in a cold weather area like me near the ocean, you will want to grow some bentgrass.
I personally prefer bentgrass over bermuda because it’s more finer surface to putt on and there’s less grain. You can still grow some bentgrass in hot areas, perhaps you can put a canopy tent over it so your grass is always under some shade, that could be a solution.
Bentgrass has many different types but the most popular is the Penncross Creeping Bentgrass, which was developed at Penn State in the 50s. I guess this is the most popular putting green grass used on also major championship golf courses.
Anyways, I ordered 5 pounds of Penncross Creeping Bentgrass off Amazon for $54.99. Btw, you can’t get bentgrass seeds from retail stores like Home Depot, OSH, or Lowes, the seeds they sell are mostly mix of fescue, bluegrass, and other types of grass. They will NOT work for your putting green so don’t get them!
Second, I bought some edging for my new mini putting green to block it away from the rest of my lawn as I don’t want other grass/weed growing on my new putting green. Since I have plans for extending my new putting green later down the line, I bought edging that could be easily lifted off later. These Fiber Edges are pretty good and what I am using, $37.12 on Amazon.
So, I started digging couple days back, my original idea was to just make a tiny bit of green to replicate it slowly to the rest of my lawn but I decided at last minute to just use the whole edging I bought to make around 6x6x6 green.
I first laid out my edging as shown below and used the stakes it came with to hold it in place.
Next, I wanted to put the edging in first so I dug up the edges and secured my edging.
Next, I started digging up everything and putting the dirt on the sides. This is my first time actually making a backyard green so I just improvised as I went along.
Next, I was going to filter out all the old grass and weed but that was going to take me all day to do. Since I was going to lay some weedblocker over, I simply dumped all the old grass back onto the green but making it so the surface is flat.
This particular part of the lawn sits on a big slope so I used the dirt I excavated to re-adjust the slope so I will end up with a relatively flat green with a slight slope.
As you can see from the sideview, I’ve used my edging to add some flatness to my new putting green so it’s not as sloped as the rest of the yard is.
Next, I cut up the rolls of weedblocker and used the weedblocker staples to put them on the new putting green so weed and the old grass won’t grow into my new green.
I bought 3 cubic feet of some garden soil and dumped the whole thing on top.
Since I was winging this whole putting green, I used my tennis shoes to pat down on the garden soil to compact it a bit and did lots of swiping with my feet to get everything evenly surfaced. I am sure you can do better than this but I didn’t want to take another trip to the hardware store at this point, I wanted to finish the job.
But it did end up pretty nice as you can see, it’s pretty even.
Next, I spread the Penncross Creeping Bentgrass seeds all over the garden soil.
For the final finish, I topped it off with a slight layer of sand to keep the seeds from sun burns.
I think the whole thing cost me just over a hundred dollars and I was surprised even at myself for finishing the whole green in just matter of hours.
Some more thoughts.
I intentionally picked the most sloped part of my lawn, since it’s the least used plus water would drain well. I would try to find a slightly sloped surface to put your backyard putting green since it will drain better plus you need a slight slope to practice different right-to-left and left-to-right putts. (Why would you practice straight putts only?!?)
I figure that would also save me thousands of dollars or more hours over building a full-out drainage system, just build it on a slope.
With my new putting green, I can practice right-to-left putts, left-to-right putts, straight putts, and downhill/uphill putts. I can’t practice long putts on it but I am planning for that later down the road.
Cutting the Greens
For true putting, I will eventually need to get a low-cutting mower that is able to cut less than 1/2 inch , which costs over/around $1,000 on average.
Most lawnmowers can really only cut up to about an inch at most but I found this bentgrass mower online that can cut up to 1/2 inch in height. At 1/2 inch, I might still have a decent green so we will see and perhaps I can hack the bentgrass mower to cut it even lower.
Why did I build this green?
Honestly, I’ve always wanted to putt in the comfort of my backyard because it’s such a big part of your golf game. You can go to your local golf course and practice but it’s not going to be the same with all that foot traffic everyone else dumps on the practice green. With my own putting green, I won’t blame anyone but myself.
Also, I’ve always wanted to record some putting green HOWTO videos for this blog but I can’t carry my heavy tri-pod and DSLR camera everytime I go to the golf course but this makes it possible for me to do that.
Why did I not get a synthetic green?
I just don’t think synthetic greens are anywhere near real putting greens. Plus, I love growing grass, it’s one of the most rewarding things to do when you see your seeds grow.
Anyways, I will have an updated photo/video of my new putting green in about 10 days when it should have grown fully.
You know how golf announcers on TV always mention “pace” of the putt while pros putt?
Well, this “pace”, can help you putt better.
How does it work?
In simpler terms, you need to find the “correct” speed of your putting stroke that will work with the greens on the golf course you are playing at.
One of the reasons why many golfers will shoot much higher score at better golf courses is because they cannot cope with the super-fast green speeds and start panicking.
Once you start panicking over a putt on the green and overshoot it by miles and end up 3-putting or even worse, you lose your confidence. And if you do this for more than a hole, all of your putting confidence disappears for the day.
Does this sound familiar to you? Don’t worry, it has happened to me hundreds of times, especially when I am trying out for U.S. Open qualifying, those greens are slick as hell.
It’s a vicious cycle of putting bad but in actual reality, you aren’t putting bad, you simply didn’t have the right “pace” for the green.
So, how to achieve the sound “pace” for the golf course you are playing today?
Make sure to get a feel for the greens by getting a 15-minute warm-up session before you play, especially if this is a golf course you have not played before or you know beforehand that the greens are kept immaculate and super-slick.
While you warm up to get the “feel” for the greens, you need to find the correct “pace” or “speed” for your putting stroke.
For best results, I highly recommend to control the distance that your putts roll with the “length” of your putting stroke. Now, if you overshoot or end up short, you need to then adjust your “pace” or “speed” of your putting stroke accordingly but do not change the length of your putting stroke.
Because your brain is already taught to use a certain “length” of your putting stroke for the distance required, you don’t need to change that, just change the “pace” of your putting stroke. Once you get the right “pace”, make sure you record it in your brain and use it for the rest of the day.
If there’s a certain green that’s under a tree and feels damp in your feet, you will have to adjust accordingly as it’s most likely going to be slower than other greens on the golf course, speed up your “pace” just a tad.
Of course, for those greens on the hills and if it’s one of your last holes of the day, the greens are going to be a bit faster, slow down your “pace” just a tad.
Why adjust “pace” not the “length” of your putting stroke?
Pace is everything in golf, and if you’ve just switched from a super-slow green to super-fast green, you aren’t going to be able to make the correct adjustments with the length of your putting stroke easily but you can easily with “speed” of your putting stroke.
I will have a further video tutorial on exactly what I mean here, feel free to ask any question below!
Well, today was the best putting practice session I’ve had in a long, long time. I practically sank every 1 out of 3 putts I looked at. One of the things I was practicing today was putting a “solid” stroke on the ball, like I was telling you the other day. (For those of you who haven’t read, please read how to putt better by trying less.)
While trying to get my putts down super solid, I stumbled onto more putting secrets.
Since I don’t like keeping secrets just to myself for my benefit, let me tell you and they are rather simple.
First, if you are not hitting every one of your putts solid, try slowing down a pace or two. I slowed my putting stroke about a pace or two and bam! I started hitting every one of my putts SOLID.
Second, you can also try lightening your grip as much as possible while you slow down your putting stroke.
If you already have a really, really slow putting pace, you might actually want to try the opposite, speed up a bit.
The trick here is to find the right rhythm and speed that gives you the best results, solid-feelin’ putts.
Try these small tips next time you are on the putting green.
And if you are never on the putting green, you know why your putting never improves. I go to the putting green like it’s the most fun things to do in the world, and it is. It’s like playing 8-ball but better.
If you want to improve your putting, first thing you will want to do is “stop trying” to sink your putts.
I know, I know, the whole point of putting is that you want to make the ball go in the hole but if you keep your focus there, you will inevitably make less putts.
So, how do you putt better by trying less and “not” trying to sink every putt?
I want you to try this exercise, I assure you, this will help you putt better.
The next time you go out to the putting green, I want you to practice putting by hitting towards “nothing”.
What do I mean?
I want you to actually don’t worry about where your golf ball goes but rather, focus on your putting stroke. Keep putting the ball into “nothingness” while focusing on achieving solid hits.
When you start letting go of everything including that of making putts into a target, you will inevitably start developing a better putting stroke.
Having a good solid contact on all your putts is not only essential, it will pretty much determine whether your putt has a chance to go in the hole or not.
99% of amateurs I have seen play don’t hit their putts solid, the main reason why putts don’t go into the hole.
What does hitting putts solid mean?
When you hit a solid putt, you will be able to feel it in your hands. This will happen because you made a good, free putting stroke without trying to manipulate it. When you hit your putts solid, you will be hitting them squarely in the center of the putter’s sweetspot.
When you hit putts solid, two things happen.
One, your putt won’t be affected as much by the slope nor the putting surface.
Second, you will inevitably sink more putts because your putts “roll” true and smooth.
On the other hand, if you don’t hit your putts solid, you probably don’t even have a chance of making it. (unless you got lucky)
Most pros on tour don’t miss putts because they mis-read the putt, they miss them because they didn’t hit their putts solid.
Once you have mastered your putting stroke, then you can start trying to sink putts on the practice green.
If you keep hitting putts that don’t feel good in your hands, it’s always a good idea to focus on your putting stroke by practicing the stroke itself.
Even one of the best putters in the world Ben Crenshaw tells you to do this in his instructional putting video. Plus, did you know that Ben Crenshaw used to sink putts from everywhere with 1 quick look at the hole when he was a teenager? This is because when you hit your putts solid as hell, you will sink a LOT of putts, as simple as that.
If you don’t believe me, try this next time you are on the putting green.
I really could give a damn how you putt whether that’s left hand down the shaft, criss-cross, or whatever but if you can hit your putts solid, you are gonna be winning more skins and your friends will wonder why you are such damn good putter. (and them always buying you dinner)
First, I don’t really care how you grip but your putter should “hang” naturally from your hands. This fixes many putting flaws. When your putter is “hanging” naturally by gravity from your hands, your putting stroke will have consistency.
To do this, simply feel the weight of the putter head and make sure you can feel it “hanging” off your hands and arms right before you begin the putt. You will also find this is easier to achieve if you stand up as tall as you can.
As for the putting grip, I find that the one with your thumbs going down the middle of the shaft works best. Also, I have tried “looser” putting grips where your thumbs are placed diagonally across the putter grip. These are good for light hands but ultimately make you miss short putts, where it counts.
For your putting stroke, make sure it’s a “stroke” back and forth, not a “hit” back and forth or any other fast, jerky movements.
Try to keep your putting clubhead on the ball as long as you can and that is what I mean by “stroking” the golf ball.
When you do this right, you will find you hit more putts solid and they also “feel” right in your hands.
As for the putting rhythm, try to mimic a metronome. Just like an old wall clock that goes back and forth, your putting stroke is the same. No need to get more complicated than “1-and-2″ rhythm.
Remember, when you practice putting, you are striving to achieve a putting stroke that will roll your ball smoothly on the green.
A great way to test your roll is to putt on a humid green when there’s a lot of fog. Try a long putt about 30 feet and see if your golf ball “jumps” or “skips”. If it does, that means you are not doing it right, apply my tips until your golf ball “rolls” smoothly. When you have truly master the art of putting, your golf ball should never “jump” or “skip” on foggy greens.
It’s Friday, I hope y’all have tee times, and I will have more golf tips next week!
Okay, I am going to let out another cat out of the bag, that is “hooking” your putts.
I’ve been recently noticing that I have been “naturally” hooking my putts, virtually every one of them. This occurred naturally while just trying to make solid contact with the ball.
By the way, I have been making helluva more putts with my new “hook” method.
When you put a slight right-to-left spin on the ball while you putt, your ball will roll more true than if you simply hit it normally. I also found that by hooking my putts, I was able to make more left-to-right putts and right-to-left putts.
The only drawback is that you will have to adjust your aiming accordingly, meaning you might want to aim more right for right-to-left putts and play for less break on left-to-right putts.
How to Hook Your Putts
For me, an inside to slightly outside putting stroke is natural since I mainly use my wrists to putt.
I find I putt better with my wrists plus more feel when I let my hands do most of the work.
The inside-out path is natural when you simply use your wrists to putt.
To try my new putting method, simply take the clubhead back, letting it hinge on your wrists. You will find that the path of the putter will automatically go inside.
On the follow-through, simply let the putter clubhead swing through to the target, you will find that the path of the putter will naturally go slightly outside then straight towards the target.
Because this is a natural movement and I am sinking more putts, I decided to stick with it.
When you do this right, you won’t notice any “hooks” with naked eye but you will notice that you can “hook” the ball on right-to-left putts (meaning you have to aim more right) and you will be able to hit those slightly left-to-right putts straight at the cup without compensating for any breaks.
Remember, the “hook” part is ever so slight that it can’t really be seen with the naked eye, it’s a “feel” thing so don’t over do it! (Perhaps like 1-3 degrees of inside-outness…)
If you look at Tiger’s putting, he also “hooks” his putts. (There’s even a golf training tool you can buy here. They call it inside-down-the-line path but it’s really the same thing.)
I’ve also noticed that one of the greatest putters Ben Crenshaw does a similar move in his teaching videos.
Of course, you can also do this without using your wrists only but I don’t know how to teach you that. Perhaps the golf training aid will help although I don’t believe in any training aids because you can’t use it on the golf course.
Anyways, this is really for advanced golfers. If you are not already accomplished putter, perhaps you might want to just try hitting putts straight and keep it simple.
Practice makes perfect in golf and so is putting, probably the most important part of the game. Whether you hit a 350 yard drive or 2 feet putt, they are counted the same.
If you can putt, you can turn a round that could be a bad 75 into an incredible 65. Or even a bad 95 into 85.
Putting does not simply depend on luck although sometimes you can get lucky and hole putts even if you miss hit it or misread it.
But for all purposes of playing better golf, you will need to practice putting.
Now, to play better golf, you need to also learn “how” to practice putting.
A lot of amateurs just throw a bunch of balls on the putting green and start hitting putts but you can do so much of that. It might improve your “feel” on the putting green but that’s not the best way to practice.
Let me tell you how I get ready for pro tournaments.
I do actually throw about 3 balls on the putting green and start putting away. But I do that to get a “feel” for the green. Once you have practiced enough of that, you need to really focus on pressure putting.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to take just one golf ball and play a 9-hole round of putting game with yourself at the end of those “random” putting practices.
For example, today at the end of putting practice, I played (with myself) a 9-hole round of putting game where par is 2 for each hole. You can pick random distances like 5, 20, or even 100 feet putts. The goal is to score, of course, under par. Luckily, today I came on top and scored 2 under for my imaginary competition.
Every time you practice putts, I want you to start playing these mini-games to put pressure on yourself. Keep score of your mini-games and over the long run, you should be improving, perhaps even 1-putting every hole. (although very hard to do)
These simple putting practice tips will go a long way to help your golf game. Whether you are a weekend warrior or aspiring junior golfer, playing games on the putting green will allow you to perform on the golf course too.
Of course, if you happen to be with friends, make sure you bet some money and play games together. (and take their money DUH!)