“Putting is like wisdom. Partly a natural gift and partly the accumulation of experience.” – Arnold Palmer
It’s no secret that a good putting game is key to playing a great round of golf. But, it’s a skill that many golfers struggle to improve. That’s why we’ve brought you a list of putting advice from one of the greatest golfers of all time: Arnold Palmer. With expert help from the King himself and a bit of practice, you’ll be sinking longer putts and writing lower numbers on your scorecards in no time!
Tip: Remain Motionless
Arnold’s first putting tip is to “feel inward”. This means feeling that your knees and elbows are pinched inward toward your body’s center-line. It’s this feeling that helps keep your weight centered and your body totally motionless as you putt. Only your arms and hands should move during your putting stroke.
Tip: Don’t Be Timid on the Comeback Putt
The next tip from the King is not to “baby” your comeback putts. If you overshoot the cup on a putt, it’s natural to feel timid on your return putt. But, since you’ve already seen the break in one direction, you should know pretty well how your comeback putt will line up. This means you can be confident with your comeback putt, using a smooth, firm, accelerating stroke with no hitch or hesitation.
Tip: Set Up Your Putts on Approach
Our third putting tip is more about setting up your putts than it is about putting itself. Here’s Arnold’s recommendation: always try to play your approach shots so you give yourself uphill putts. Uphill putts are slower and more forgiving, and the hole actually has a higher edge on the back side that acts as a bit of a backboard. Downhill putts are much trickier, and the lower back edge of the cup makes a fast-rolling ball much less likely to go in.
Tip: Putt Instead of Chipping
If you’re off the green but close enough to pull out the putter anyway, don’t hesitate. For most amateurs, the putt will almost always be more accurate than a chip shot. As Arnold says, “Your worst put is usually better than your best chip”.
Tip: Picture Your Putts “Riding the Rails”
Our final tip is this: Try to visualize a miniature railroad track connecting your ball and the hole on the green. That may help you picture the line the ball should follow as it follows the contours of the green toward the cup. Arnold also suggests that you try putting early while the morning dew is still on the grass, so your putts will make a visible trail you can follow to help you visualize your lines.