8 Putting Tips That WILL Lower Your Score (I promise)

A golfer putting on the green

Erik Schjolberg

By Coach Erik Schjolberg – Aug 15, 2023

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Most golfers love to learn to hit the golf ball a long way, and practicing putting is not nearly as exciting or fun, but in the end, it’s the most important part of the game.

Key Takeaways – How to Putt Better

  1. If you want to get good at putting, you have to practice … (you guessed it) PUTTING!
  2. A pre shot routine is a MUST (for all of golf, but for putting as well)
  3. Experiment and decide on your preferred stroke type – straight vs arc
  4. Speed, speed, speed is the name of the game

Spending time on the putting green, working on your putting stroke, and perfecting some putting drills can take your game from mediocre to impressive.

I’ve struggled to get my golf game to the level I wanted in the past because of my putting. Luckily I have come across some great putting drills over the years, and modified them to work specifically for my game.

Here are my 8 best putting tips…

My Very Best Golf Putting Tips (That I Teach My Students)

1. Develop A Pre Shot Routine

Developing a pre-shot routine for putting is incredibly important. Pre-shot routines will help with alignment, speed control, and consistency. You can make your pre-shot routine to be anything you want it to be.

Here is what I do:

  • Get up to the green, fix my pitch mark, walk all the way to the hole, and back around to the golf ball.
  • Then I mark my golf ball, clean it, and put it back down.
  • I like to see only the white part of the golf ball, no logo, no line.
  • Then I stand behind the ball, looking down the line while taking a few practice strokes.
  • Next, I line up my putter and stare down the hole. 
  • Standing over the ball, I ensure I feel confident in my stance, and then I look at the hole one last time before pulling the trigger.

Using the putting tip of a pre shot routine

One thing to keep in mind about my putting stroke and putting routine is that I never practice my putting stroke on the side of the ball, I always do it when I’m looking down the line from behind. In addition, the last thing I do before I make contact with the golf ball is look at the hole.

Golfers put so much emphasis on the putting stroke they often forget to focus on the golf hole itself. With short putts or long lag putts, repeat the same routine and focus on the hole, not the putting stroke.

2. Light Grip Pressure

Showing a light grip pressure for putting

Keeping your grip pressure in your left hand and right hand nice and loose can help tremendously on the putting green. Whether you are on fast or slow greens, when you clench your hand, you have more of a tendency to lose track of speed and distance control.

Pressure in the hands incorporates the wrists and hands into the putting stroke a bit more. It’s better to keep your hands out of it and ensure that your shoulders and arms are the more active elements of your putting stroke.

Grip the putter, so you have enough control to keep the putter head on track. However, don’t allow pressure to creep back in by standing over the ball too long.

3. Create a Slight Forward Press

Not all golfers like a forward press in their putting stroke. However, I have found that this slight forward press can help keep the putter head on a straight line. A forward press works well even when the putter is slightly offset.

I have always enjoyed a slight forward press on the golf course as part of my pre-shot routine as well. Many golfers use it almost like a trigger to pull the club back, especially useful when you cant break 80.

Push the hands forward and then take the putter back on the proper line.

4. Make Practice Putts Count

Practice putting is essential. In fact, one of my best putting tips should be just to spend more time on the putting green. If you are going to spend time on the practice green developing the perfect putting stroke, you should make sure that it’s going to translate to the golf course.

Start by picking out a putt on the green that you want to work with.

I like to pick something like a seven to ten foot putt. 

At this point, you want to bring just one golf ball with you to the green. Three or four golf balls make the experience much different from the real course.

For this putting tip, start making sure that you are actually focusing on making a putt. Do your pre-shot routine, commit to a target line and practice green reading as if the putt matters.

The next time you get to the golf course, you are going to have a much easier time translating what you have learned to help your score. Another great thing about practicing putting is that there are plenty of drills to practice putting at home, as well as the office.

5. Decide On Arc or Straight Stroke

Choosing a great putter for your game includes knowing if you have an arc style putting stroke or a straight back straight through putting stroke. If you are in between, make sure to pick just one.

Straight through and arc putting styles

In fact, most of the best putting tips that you are going to read will first talk about whether or not you have an arc or straight stroke. 

If you are unsure which one you have, put a golf shaft alignment stick down on the ground and see if the club moves away from it or stays right on it.

As a bonus, figuring out your stroke will also help the choice between a mallet vs blade putter that much easier!

6. Pay Close Attention To Speed

I would rather be good at determining speed than reading breaks. If your speed is relatively close to being accurate, you have a chance of making the putt. If your speed control is terrible, the ball will not end up near the hole.

Before you go out to play a round of golf, take a few strokes on the putting green to ensure that you know the speed of the greens. In addition, don’t be scared of fast greens, fast greens tend to roll more true, and you will probably have a chance of making more putts on a fast green.

Adjust your speed by adjusting the length of your stroke, and your putting performance will significantly improve. For a more advanced way to read the greens, check out my article on Aimpoint Express putting here.

7. Get An Alignment Strategy

As I mentioned when I spoke about my putting pre-shot routine, I like to look at the white on the golf ball. Looking at a line or a logo bothers me and makes it difficult to take my regular stroke.

You must find an alignment strategy that works for you. Take a look at the top of the putter. Do you have an alignment system in place? In addition, see if you play with a golf ball that has a line on it; maybe that would help you feel more confident.

Down the line putting view

I have always thought that golfers with a straight back, straight, through stroke do better using the alignment line on their putter. Those that have more of an arc style stroke tend to do better when not focusing so much on a straight line.

The key here is that you can’t guess when it comes to alignment. Set up to something that makes sense to you but does it the same way every time. You’ll never find yourself in the percentage of golfers who break 100 if you can’t find something that works for your game.

8. Keep Your Head Stable

When taking your putting stroke, you will want to keep your head stable throughout. In fact, I cannot stand the putting tip of keeping your head down in the golf swing, BUT when it comes to putting, you actually do want to keep your head down.

On days that I am struggling with my putter. I keep my head down until my right arm passes through the ball. Once the arm is entirely past me, then I can look up and see if my putt went in the hole.

If your head is not stable or you lift up too soon, the putter face opens up considerably. The opening of the putter face can easily be controlled.

For some golfers, the concept of letting the club pass the left foot before they pick their head up seems to be a good one.

Bonus Tip

Make sure you like your putter! Putting is mostly about confidence, and standing over a putter that feels good in your hands (and mind) always always always makes you sink more putts. If you’re a female golfer, check out our best putters for women ranking.

FAQ – Tips for Putting Better

Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about the best putting tips. There are lots of putting tips out there, and honestly, some of them aren’t great. You have to know a bit about your particular game and strengths and weaknesses before you can choose the best putting tips for your game.

Golfer missing a putt

What is the best tip for putting?

The best tip for putting is to develop a pre shot routine and stick to it every time you make a putt. How can your brain learn to repeat a golf stroke if you don’t approach it the same way every time? Keep the routine the same for short and long putts, and you will find your putting will be much more consistent.

How can I make putting easier?

Putting is easier when you feel confident about your target line and club path. Even if you are still developing the skill of green reading, you can learn how to putt better by learning to control the path and pick a line to the target you trust. You can also experiment using different types of putter heads or styles.

How do pros putt so well?

Professionals putt well because they practice A LOT and have worked to perfect their technique, it’s that simple.

They also experiment and hone in on the grip that best suites their game – whether it’s the claw, left hand low, reverse overlap, saw putting, and even some more.

Professionals have also played golf for many many years, and they are comfortable reading putts and having the flat stick in their hands.

Do you putt with hands or shoulders?

Golfers putt with both their hands and their shoulders. However, if you want to be more consistent in your putting, it is best to use your shoulders.

How do you not miss a 3 foot putt?

Short putts are frustrating because they count for just as much as a 250 yard drive; if you want to get good from 3 feet, you have to practice this putt. Practice EVERYWHERE! Practice at home when you’re watching tv, while you’re on the phone, you can even practice at the office on your lunch break (these office putting sets are pretty cool).

Standing over a 3 foot putt and telling yourself that you just made 20 or 40 of them in a row is a great way to boost confidence.

Does it help to look at the hole when putting?

Looking at the hole when putting is a great drill, but most golfers won’t use it on the golf course. The USGA rules of golf do not prohibit golfers from looking at the hole when putting. It’s a tricky concept to get used to looking at the hole when you putt, but once you do, you will probably find it to be really accurate.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, these golf putting tips have given you some actionable steps to take with you to the golf course.

Start with one or two putting tips at a time and work through these this golf season. Putting may seem simple, but it is actually one of the more complex parts of the game.

I’ve always found that the time I put in on the putting green pays off incredibly well on the golf course.

About the Author

Erik Schjolberg

By Coach Erik Schjolberg – Last Updated Aug 15, 2023



Coach Erik actively coaches several PGA Tour Professionals. He’s the head golf instructor and writer here at Swing Yard, was voted the “#1 Golf Coach in Scottsdale, Arizona”, and has been coaching for over 20+ years. Erik also owns and operates his own online golf school, EJS Golf Academy. His other credentials include: Active PGA Coaches Membership, Titleist TPI Level 1 and 2, Trackman Certified Level 1, Dr. Kwon’s Biomechanics Level I and II, Scott Cowx Certified Level I Advanced, BodiTrack and V1 Sports Pressure Mat Certified, Titleist Club Fitting and Ball Fitting Certified, PGA Hope, and Sportsbox AI. Check out Erik’s full bio and certifications for more info.