3 Pro Putting Tips for Amateur Golfers

By Todd Kolb
February 22, 2018

3 Pro Putting Tips for Amateur Golfers

Updated 06/28/2018

Have you ever watched a tour professional effortlessly sink a putt and wonder to yourself, “What do they know that I don’t?”

As a PGA teaching professional who works with amateur golfers and tour pros alike, I can tell you that even the pros struggle with putting. No matter how effortless their putting looks to you, they are working to overcome many of the same challenges you are. They don’t have a special secret to putting tips or know an innovative technique. They simply know the best way to practice their putts. Even the best players constantly drill their putting skills just to establish better habits and greater consistency.

I am going to share three pro putting tips that can help you play better on the green. Each of these putting tips includes a drill that I have used to help both my amateur students and tour professionals. These tips are valuable for golfers at every level.

If you’re struggling with your putting, the following putting tips could help you turn your game around.

Tip #1:  Mastering Movement in the Body

It probably doesn’t surprise you to learn that excess movement in the body can throw off your putt. However, if you’re like a lot of weekend golfers, the putting tips you’ve received on body movement probably sounds like this:

“Keep your head down!”

This is not the most useful advice. Head rotation is probably the least of your problems.

The real issue for most golfers lies in the movement of the actual body. Amateurs and pros alike struggle with the instinct to shift their body from left to right or from right to left as they swing. This shifting throws off the motion of the stroke. What’s more, you may not even realize you’ve been doing it.

Fortunately, the drill you can use to correct this habit also helps you gauge your own tendency to shift as you putt.

Lead Leg Only Drill – Proper rotation (left) vs. Improper (right).  Improper results in the body falling back as you make the putting stroke

The Drill

If you want to train yourself to prevent that movement in the body, do this simple drill:

  1. Take your setup.
  2. Balance on your lead foot.
  3. Lift your trail foot off the ground. (You can rest the toe on the ground behind you if you’re struggling to balance.)
  4. Take your putt balanced only on the lead foot.

By running this drill, you learn how it feels to putt without shifting your body, and you train your body to approach putts this way.

Furthermore, you get better at noticing your natural impulse to move. These putting tips promote awareness of where your balance is in your body and how your body wants to move that balance through the putt. Most golfers find they want to fall back towards the trail foot. When you become more conscious of that instinct, you are better equipped to correct it.

Tip #2:  Mastering Rhythm

Good cadence is crucial to hitting a solid putt.

When I talk about rhythm in your swing, I’m referring to the speed of your motion from the beginning of the backstroke to the moment of impact. You want that speed to be consistent throughout. Some golfers have a tendency to draw the clubhead back fast, then slow down as they swing forward. Other golfers have the opposite habit – slow on the backstroke and quicker as the clubhead approaches the ball.

What you want is a steady, even swing rhythm. You should feel like the putter is flowing into the ball.

As with movement in the body, correcting poor cadence begins with better awareness of what’s happening in your swing. If you genuinely have no idea whether you’re putting with a steady rhythm or not, the Pause and Go Drill can help.

The Drill

I call this drill the Pause and Go Drill, and it’s incredibly simple.  In fact, all of these pro putting tips can be easily implemented.

  1. Take your setup.
  2. Take your backstroke.
  3. Pause or come to a full stop at the top of the backstroke.
  4. Swing forward through the putt.

By taking that pause in the backstroke, you become more aware of your cadence. You are more conscious of your speed as you swing away from the ball, and you have a brief moment to make a choice about your speed before you swing forward. The pause helps you recognize the motion on both sides of your stroke. This is how you train yourself to maintain the same steady rhythm as the pros.

Tip #3:  Mastering Shoulder Movement

There is a widespread difference in opinion as to which part of the body should guide the putt.  Putting tips can vary on this topic, but here is a sample.

Some believe the motion of your putt should come primarily from your wrists. Others would advise you to swing from the arms.

I stand by the philosophy that it’s all about shoulder rotation. You want the motion of your stroke to come from the shoulders. This gives you more control over your putt and helps you maintain an even motion throughout. However, many golfers have to fight a strong instinct to swing with their arms. I’m going to teach you a drill that will help you recognize when you’re putting from the arms and retrain your body to put the motion of the putt into your shoulders.

The Drill

Of the 3 putting tips, this drill is the simplest one yet.

  1. Take your setup.
  2. Make sure your lead arm is tucked up against the body.
  3. Tuck a glove or similar object under your lead arm.
  4. Take your putt.

The glove should stay tucked against your body as you putt. If it falls out from under your lead arm, you’ll know you’ve allowed your arms to work away from the body. Basically, your arms have become responsible for the motion of the putt.

However, if you keep your lead arm up against the body throughout the stroke, you force your shoulders to do all the work. That’s how you teach your body to rely on shoulder rotation for a steady, solid putt. And you’ll know you’ve succeeded, because the glove will still be under your arm when your ball is rolling towards the hole.

3 Pro Putting Tips Summary

To sum up, these three putting tips can drastically improve your putting:

  1. Maintain consistent balance throughout your stroke, rather than shifting the body to the right or left.
  2. Maintain consistent rhythm in the speed of your stroke.
  3. Tuck the arms close to the body and focus on rotating through the shoulders as you make your putt.

These may seem like small adjustments. Almost too easy, right? However, as someone who has had the privilege of standing inside the ropes at tour events, I can assure you these concepts make the all the difference to a golfer at any level. In fact, I’ve used these putting tips and drills to help tour professionals putt their absolute best and to help amateur golfers find more confidence on the green.

No matter what your handicap is, no matter what your golf goals are, these putting tips will help you sink more putts and play better golf.

Has This Advice Helped?

Have you tested these putting tips in your own putting practice? Have these drills worked for you? Do you have any putting tips of your own or is there anything you disagree with?

Join the conversation in the comments section and let us know! We always love to hear from you.

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1 Comment

  1. when comparing distances with tour players lets get down to the older players who hit drives maybe 190 to 210 yards and go from there.

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