Missing an easy putt can be immensely frustrating, and it’s convenient to blame your stroke, your mechanics or even your putter. But maybe you weren’t aimed at the hole in the first place, despite what your eyes were telling you.
Indeed, misalignment is the silent killer of putting. If you knew it was ravaging your game, you would correct it immediately, right?
In his new book The Art of Scoring, short game guru Stan Utley writes that alignment can easily go awry, even with PGA Tour players: “It’s one of the most common things I adjust with the tour players I see—and it’s something that happens to them without them really noticing. It’s frustrating, because your stroke can feel really great, but the putts just won’t drop—and it’s all because you aren’t aimed correctly. Tour players ask their teachers or caddies all the time to watch for ball position and alignment.”
Utley recommends that you do the same, asking an instructor or golf-savvy buddy “to give you a look every once in a while and check for consistency.”
He also recommends the following pre-round drill to help you calibrate your alignment:
“At least once before every tournament I play, I find a place on the practice green that gives me a ten-footer with no break. I make sure my alignment is good, and I hit straight putts to that practice hole. It’s a way of recalibrating my eye, to make sure that when I’ve got putts with break out on the course, my feet, knees, hips and shoulders are all on the same line. You need to check yourself at least as regularly, because alignment—and ball position—can get out of whack very easily.”
The Art of Scoring focuses on course management through pitching, chipping and putting. Chapters include The Three Basic Shots You Need to Know Today; The Three Hardest Short Game Shots Made Simple; and The Putting Strategy Guide.
The above excerpt is reprinted with permission from Gotham Books, a division of the Penguin Group, copyright © 2009 by Stan Utley.