Are these golf putting mistakes costing you strokes?

Are these golf putting mistakes costing you strokes?

It’s safe to say putting is one of the most difficult aspects of the golf game, if not the most difficult. With players spending more time on the putting green than any other part of the course, it pays for golfers to master the art of the putting stroke to the best of their ability - but plenty of them struggle with the same issues throughout their games.

While putting is mostly a mental game, there are common physical mistakes that can be identified - and fixed - to give you the best chance at sinking more putts when the heat is on and keep your scores at an all-time low.

Here are some of the most common putting mistakes and the putting tips you can use to limit their impact on your game.

Common putting mistakes - and how to fix them

Lifting your head too soon

It’s always tempting to look up as soon as we follow through with our shot, so we can track the flight path of our golf ball and admire our handiwork (if it’s good work). But many golfers make the dangerous mistake of lifting their head before they’ve struck the ball, which can cause serious issues in the way the putter head interacts with the ball.

It’s a key issue that appears whatever club you’re using, but can be especially lethal on the putting green. Despite the fact you’re far closer to your target than with a drive or iron shot, lifting your head while putting can cause your putter face to slip out of alignment by mere millimetres and centimetres - but this minor change can drastically change your ball path and, ultimately, make you miss the putt.

To combat this issue, there’s not much more you can do than discipline yourself on the practice green or in your pre-putt routine. Line up several putts in a row and commit yourself to not lifting your head until the ball is in motion. It might sound a bit extreme, but choosing not to lift your head until the ball has either dropped or stopped is a good tactic to prevent early lifting in your putting game. Eventually, you’ll get into the habit of only lifting your head at the appropriate time when you’re in a real game. If all goes well, this should help you shave a few precious strokes off your game when it counts.

Bad alignment

As simple as it may sound, an inability to accurately line up your putt could be the cause of your near misses. It’s understandable considering we have to line up our shots standing side-on to the ball position and the target, which doesn’t feel natural for a lot of people. That’s why you’ll often see players stepping behind the ball and using their club to line up their shot with the hole, before stepping up to the ball and preparing to swing.

This can help judge a specific target line we should aim for, if the green is relatively flat. Then, when a golfer finally steps up to the ball, they can match their putter alignment aid (if their putter has one) with the virtual line they just created, to help the ball roll straighter towards the target.

Alternatively, if you struggle to follow longer paths, you could always choose a spot around two or three inches from your ball that is in line with the desired path, and aim for that instead. That way, you’ll still have a great chance of keeping your ball moving in the right direction. You should ensure your grip pressure isn't too tight or too loose, either, as this can cause issues in your alignment too.

Poor power control

If greens are cared for properly, you can expect a relatively smooth roll for your golf ball when taking a putt. While this is an advantage, it also makes it incredibly easy for us to inject too much power into our shots, miss the hole by a long margin, and leave ourselves with an even more difficult putt on the second go.

Or, in the worst scenario, we miss the hole and our ball rolls off the back of the green completely, adding at least 2 extra strokes to our game. Once again, practice makes perfect, but specific golf drills will help you bring your shot power under control to prevent the above.

The next time you’re on the practice green, try placing two tees at either side of the hole and attempt to hit these tees with two separate shots, before aiming for the hole itself. This will give you a good gauge of the level of power required for the main putt. With time, this muscle memory should apply itself on the course, with you landing shots either in the hole or right beside it.

Worried your putter could be to blame? Grab a new golf putter at Clarkes Golf today

Beyond technique, there’s every chance that your putter could be costing you strokes if it’s damaged or you’ve been using it for a long time. Investing in a new golf putter from Clarkes Golf could be the difference-maker in your short game you’ve been looking for.

Browse our selection of golf putters from the world’s biggest brands, or get in touch if you’d like some specific product advice - we’re always happy to help!