Every once in a while you get one of those “aha” moments. I had one when I was playing in the PGA Junior Championship at Bellerive Country Club. I had lost the tournament due to my exceptionally poor putting from four feet and in. I vowed I would never allow that to happen again. So I came up with a way to improve my putting stroke alignment, and build confidence, all with one drill: the chalkline.
Whether you have a straight back and through stroke or arc stroke, you can do this drill.
Look at the accompanying photos to see what I mean.
First, I find a straight uphill putt and snap a chalkline. I always pick an uphill putt so I have to put a little bigger stroke on it.
Next, I add a board just outside the toe line of the putter and a tee on the through path, just wider than your club head to enforce a good putter path.
Stroke your putt by swinging your shoulders back and through, keeping the “Y” created by your arms and putter constant. Your hands and lower body are quiet throughout the entire stroke. As you hit each putt, allow your eyes to go from the putter face to the hole, then back to the ball. Having your eyes trace the line to the hole and back helps ingrain what being “square” looks like to you. In this drill, the putter should swing back and through along the chalkline with the club face slightly arcing.
In the beginning, see how many putts out of 30 you can make. As you get more comfortable, go to 30 in a row, each time looking at the hole prior to each putt, ingraining alignment, and holding your finish. You will notice muscle memory of your stroke, perfectly swinging over the line, improved ability to line up to the intended target, and increased confidence seeing the ball go into the hole, putt after putt.
Note: I recommend using corn starch in your chalkline, so that when you are finished with practice you can pour some water on the line and it will disappear. This process saves the green from the damage of too many people standing in the same spot over and over again.
Vicki Goetze-Ackerman is Director of Instruction at Buckhorn Springs Golf & Country Club in Valrico Springs, Florida. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org