good putting set-up will help you swing the putter straight back
and straight through when you putt. I like to look at four
distinctive lines when I watch a player putt the ball:
Over the Ball
The first line we have all heard about. It's the line between your
eyes and the ball. If my eyes are over the ball, I can look
straight down the line of the putt and at the ball in a vertical
plane. This helps me see the line of the putt so I can line up the
putter in the best possible way.
If my eyes are past (outside) the ball as a result of standing too
close to it, I would be seeing the ball in a diagonal plane and
from this position it is much harder to line up the putter head.
If I'm standing too far away from the ball, I would also be
looking at it in a diagonal plane.
Next, I like to see a line hanging straight down directly
underneath the shoulder line. Having my hands directly under my
shoulders, I can swing my arms straight back and straight through
without really thinking about it.
If my hands are outside of my shoulder line, they will naturally
want to seek (return) back underneath my shoulder line. If my
hands swing to the inside and so does the head of my putter. If my
hands are inside my shoulder line, they would swing the putter
head to the outside.
When people have a problem with the direction the putter head is
traveling and don't spend time to fix it, they will always have
to consciously manipulate the directional path the putter
travels during the stroke.
If my hands are outside of my shoulders and I try to take the
putter head straight back and straight through, my putting
stroke will get really disconnected from the rest of my body.
I'm likely to create a lot of tension in my hands and arms,
which would cause me to become too conscious of my putter and my
After my eyes are over the ball and my hands are underneath the
shoulders, I like to see is a straight line from my hips to my
heels. When taking a stance, you want your hip line to be just
outside the edges of your heels. That line represents balance.
If I setup with my eyes over the ball, hands underneath my
shoulders and my lower body balanced (so it supports my upper
body), I can remain still and just let my arms to swing straight
back and straight through.
If I had the first two lines correct, but stood a little too
close to the ball, my weight would be into my heels and
cause my body to move around because my stance is off
balance. A similar thing happens if I'm standing too far
away from my ball, where too much of my weight is on my
If you have ever made a stroke where the putter head wiggles
around during your stroke, it's probably because your body was
not in a balanced position over the ball.
The fourth line to look at is very important. I like to draw a
line along the shaft of the putter. If the line runs directly
through the forearms, that tells me that this person's putting
set-up is using a one lever motion.
To hit a golf shot, you grip the golf club down in the fingers
with your palms on top of the grip. As you swing the golf club
back, the downward pressure hinges the club up and creates a lever
But when you putt, you don't need that leverage for power. You
want to run the shaft right through the middle of the forearms,
because from there the pressure goes straight back and straight
through. I don't want the putter shaft hinging and releasing (or
worry about it) when I'm putting.
The nice thing about these four positions is that they help you
set up correctly so you don't have to think about the mechanics of
your putting stroke. All you have to do is just trust your stroke
and let it happen.