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Five Keys to a Proper Putting Setup
If you’re struggling to master the putt, you’re in good company. Every golfer knows what it’s like to fall too short or too long on a putt that seems like it should have been so easy. If you find yourself missing the cup time and again, it may be time to focus less on the motion of your swing and more on the strength of your setup.
I am going to share the five key components of a quality putting setup. While putting is the most individualized skill in golf and there is no “one size fits all” method, these basic fundamentals are likely to help you achieve a more controlled, precise putt no matter who you are.
Before we can talk about setting up your shot, however, we need to make sure your grip isn’t compromising your form.
A quality setup features five key components.
The putter shaft is an extension of the forearm. Notice what your wrists are doing. You want your putter in line with your forearm. Any bending or twisting in the wrist will compromise that straight line . . . as well as the quality of your putting stroke. Fortunately, a proper grip on the club forces you to accomplish this component naturally.
Keep the shoulders level. Many new golfers make the mistake of positioning their trail shoulder too low. Fight that instinct. A quality putt depends on your ability to create an even pendulum motion on your swing, with the putter moving the same distance and at the same degree of arc on both the backward and forward swings. Level shoulders help you accomplish this.
Keep the hands below the shoulders. When you are in position to swing, your hands should be on the same vertical line as your shoulders. Some golfers are more comfortable with their hands just outside the shoulder line (toward the ball), and this position works just as well. Be careful, however, to never position the hands inside the shoulder line (toward the body), as this will hurt your motion.
Hold the putter in a neutral position. This is one of the most overlooked and most important components of an effective putting setup. Most putters are made with a loft of about 2-4 degrees on the putter face. This loft is built into the club to help you, but you only get the benefits of that design when the putter is in a neutral position. If you bring your hands out in front of the ball, leaning the putter towards the target, you de-loft the putter. If you bring your hands back behind the ball, leaning the putter away from the target, you add more loft than you want. Focus on holding the putter in a neutral position.
Place the ball below your lead eye. When you take your setup, position the ball so it’s directly underneath your lead eye. This may be difficult to judge at first, but you can test the placement by holding a second ball at your lead eye, then dropping it straight down. If it hits the first ball, you know you are positioning the eyes correctly.
Between the grip and the five components of the setup, this may seem like a lot to keep in mind when you’re out on the putting green. The good news is that once you have mastered the grip, you won’t have to work as hard to remember things like shaft position and shoulder levels, because those elements will happen naturally.
So, master the grip, practice quality setup until it’s second nature, and get ready to see your golf scores go down.
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