Tilted Putter (left) Versus Flat Putter (right)
Tilted Putter (left) Versus Flat Putter (right)

Golf - Keep the Putter Flat for Better Accuracy

Dick Moss

When putting, most golfers allow the tip of the putter-head to lift from the green, so the putter-head is tilted during the stroke. You'll even see this error with a number of professional golfers, although the best long putters, such as Tiger Woods, keep the sole of their putter flat. It is one of the keys to their success.

The Problem With a Tilted Putter
A tilted putter is a problem because it misaligns the both the club and the player's body position and makes it more difficult to contact the putter's center of gravity.

Contacting the putter's sweet spot is particularly important on long putts, because it optimizes the force of the shot, reduces vibration, and prevents the club from twisting.According to Golf Magazine researcher, Dave Pelz, hitting the sweet spot is the most important factor in successful putting. In fact, missing the sweet spot by only one-quarter of an inch drastically reduces your chances of making a single putt over eight feet in length (see "Putting - Find Your Putter's Sweet Spot").

How to Assume the Correct Putter Alignment
To ensure that the sole of your putter is flat on the green, practice your putting setup in front of a mirror, or have a partner provide feedback when you putt outside. Once you've assumed the proper position, remember the way that body posture feels.

Just a warning, when you first adjust your position, you'll probably feel that your hands are higher than usual. You'll also be closer to the ball than usual so you might feel like you are tipping forward because your weight will be more on the balls of your feet.

1. John Elliot, Golf Plus, Big Play: John's Tip, "Master putting's key quarter inch." Sports Illustrated, February 5, 2007. http://www.sportsillustrated.com

2. Dick Moss (Editor), Putting - Find Your Putter's Sweet Spot, PE Digest website, Winter'99.


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