Putting can make or break your golf game. Putt well and you will make tough shots look easy and long shots look like tap-ins. One could write a book about putting technique (and indeed, many people have), but you can boil down the main things you need to know into five key tips:
1. Understand the Green
Caddies will tell you that when the grass is a lighter shade of green, it has been cut away from you and has less friction. If this is the case, you cannot hit the ball too hard, because the green will be faster.
Distance and speed are just as important as the direction of the ball. Therefore, before you putt, examine the green to determine the length and condition of the course as well as the angle of the grass. Consider elements of the weather such as rain, which can change the condition of the course. These factors help you make quicker decisions, and you will learn how to differentiate various golf courses and greens.
2. Control Your Grip
When you hold the club, each hand should be weighted equally, and your grip should feel natural, not tight. Most amateur golfers tend to grip the club too hard. The putter should have a natural swing, not a dictated one. It should assume its own momentum as it moves through its path.
3. Paint a Mental Picture
Before you play a shot, visualize your arms as a pendulum, gradually playing through to the golf ball. The movement should begin from your shoulders. You should have no movement in your legs while you are playing the shot.
4. Keep your Weight Controlled
Don't put too much weight on your heels. If you do, you won't be able to control the shot. Instead, focus the weight on your toes. If you watch professional golfers closely, you will notice they keep their weight solely on their toes.
5. Practice, Practice, Practice
If you want to get good at anything, regular practice is important—and putting is the golf skill that requires the most repetition. Practice on various golf courses, in different conditions and even while it is dark out so you can achieve the best results.