20 Golf Putting Tips: Make More Putts Today!

Improving putting in golf is one of the fastest ways to lower your score.

The putter is often a club that can help make a bad round better or a good round great.  The magic of making some putts always seems to carry over to the confidence levels and can help with the full swing.

My Journey: This past summer, I went from averaging 2.0 birdies per round to 4.0 birdies per round. I made more 10-12 footers than ever in my life. Here are 20 tips I have used to help me become a quality putter.

20 Golf Putting Tips

  1. Control your start line
  2. Control your pace
  3. Manage your expectations
  4. Use the line on your ball
  5. Make 2-3 practice putting strokes
  6. Use a consistent tempo
  7. Try different grips
  8. Use an intermediate target
  9. Practice your 3-10 footers
  10. Practice your 30-40 footers
  11. Compete in practice
  12. Watch your putt until it stops
  13. Use the best putter for you
  14. Have a system
  15. Have a routine
  16. Use the practice green
  17. Control the controllable
  18. Watch others putt
  19. Practice at home
  20. Embrace the challenge

Tip #1: Control your start line

Putting comes down to the start line and pace.  When you can match up the two properly, you will make the putt.  The right line with the wrong speed can result in a poorly missed putt.  But step 1 is getting the right line.  Go ahead and get a good read from behind the ball and behind the cup (if time permits).  Be confident in your line and commit.  Too many golfers stand over the ball and question if they picked the right line.  This leads to tension and a poor putting stroke.  Stay committed.

Related: How to stop pulling putts left

Tip #2: Control you pace

The perfect line with the wrong pace, leads to a missed putt.  COnsider this: if you have a 30 foot putt and pick the wrong line by 3 feet, but hit the putt at the correct pace, you will have a 3 foot tap in.  If you have the right line, but hit it 8 feet too hard, chances are you will have an 8 foot putt back towards the hole.  Practicing pace and paying attention to the pace is vital.  Sometimes golfers can get distracted reading the line and trying to figure out what the ball is going to do and fail to hit the ball at the correct pace.  There are often different line and pace combinations that will work out, so make sure you consider both line and pace together in your pre putt routine.

Tip #3: Manage your expectations

Too many golfers expect to make every 8 footer.  Did you know the following:

  • The PGA Tour make percentage from 8 feet on tour is only 50%
  • The PGA Tour make percentage from 15-20 feet is only 18.3%
  • The PGA Tour make percentage from 25+ feet is 5.45%

Keep these percentages in mind as you play golf.  Once again, control your aim, speed and start line and give the putt a chance.  You aren’t going to make every putt and neither do the best golfers in the world!  Stay patient, have a process and adjust throughout the round!

Additional Stats: Make Percentage on PGA Tour

DistanceMake Percentage
3 Feet96%
5 Feet77%
8 Feet50%
10 Feet40%
15 Feet23%
20 Feet15%
Source: PGA Tour

Tip #4: Use the line on your ball

Use the markings on your golf ball or draw a line on your ball.  After you read your putt and determine your desired start line, mark your ball, clean it and set it up with the line pointing in that direction.  Commit to this line and try not to change once you are standing over it.  The line is a great way to use your vision from behind the ball, which is more accurate than your vision standing over the ball.

Use the tool above to get a quality, straight line on your golf ball.

Tip #5: Make 2-3 practice putting strokes

As part of your routine, make sure you make 2-3 consecutive putting strokes to build the muscle memory and speed of how hard you want to hit the golf ball.  Feel the length and speed of the stroke, set up and make a confident stroke.  Half the battle in putting is having a confident putting stroke!

Tip #6: Use a consistent tempo

There are successful putters with quick tempos and slow tempos.  The number one key is keeping your tempo consistent through the swing.  You do not want a putting stroke that slows down or speeds up dramatically during the short length of the putting stroke.

Tip #7: Try different grips

If you watch the professionals on television you will see a wide range of putting grips.  Some use the left hand low, some use more of an anchor approach with the belly putter, while others use the claw grip.  The bottom line is that you need to find a grip that helps you start the ball on the correct start line and at the right pace.

Related: Cross Handed Putting Grip

Tip #8: Use an intermediate target

On a putt that breaks a decent amount, it can help to have a spot on the green about one third to halfway to the hole that you can look at as your starting point or where you want the ball to roll through.  This helps make the putt feel less overwhelming and helps the golfer dial in the right line.

Tip #9: Practice your 3-10 footers

During your journey in golf, you will find you have a lot of 3-10 footers that are important.  Whether you have chipped inside of 10 foot or stuck an iron or wedge shot inside of 10 feet, you want to make the putt.  Between the best players and average players there isn’t much a difference between 10-25 feet.  

Related: How to make more short putts

Tip #10: Practice your 30-40 footers

3 putt avoidance is huge in golf.  Most 3 putts happen in this longer putting range.  Consider the states below and notice the importance of practicing this distance.

Related: Drills and Tips for Lag Putting

PGA Tour: 3 Putt Percentage from specific distances

Distance3 Putt Percentage
10 Feet.7%
20 Feet2.2%
30 Feet5%
40 Feet10%

Now imagine the 3 putt percentage in the 30-40 foot range with the average amateur golfer.  It is probably at least double the 5% and 10% numbers on the PGA Tour.

Tip #11: Compete in practice

Ideally you have someone else of similar ability level to compete with around the practice green.  If you are practicing by yourself, you can use this game:

  • Roll your putt somewhere on the practice between 20-40 feet.
  • See how many putts it takes you to hole out (1, 2 or 3)
  • Repeat this for 9 or 18 holes and track your score
  • Play this game several times with similar putts and track your progress over time.

You will get a chance to work on lag putting and making those 2-5 footers that are often pressure packed.

There are plenty of competitive games you can play on the practice green.

Tip #12: Watch your putt until it stops

Stay in your putting stance until the ball stops, this helps you visualize the putt, build some feel and watch the putt if it passes the hole to get a read of the break on the next putt.  Be patient and make sure you take it all in visually!

Tip #13: Use the best putter for you

There are so many options when it comes to putters.  Test them out, find what is most comfortable and give it a shot.  Remember, the key is hitting your start line and at the right pace.  Those are the two things that matter most when putting.  Which putters gives you the best chance to control those two things?

Related: Short Putter vs Long Putter and Mallet vs Blade

Tip #14: Have a system

Some golfers build their system on putting stroke length or pace, while others build it off of feel.  Find your system, practice your system and commit to your system!

Related: When to use a putter

Tip #15: Have a routine

Once you have decided on the line and put your ball back in play, start your routine of at least a couple of putting strokes, confirming your start line and then addressing the ball.  Try not to be the golfer that takes too much and holds up everyone in the group.

Tip #16: Use the practice green

There are two key times: between rounds and before your round.  Between rounds you are working on those 3-10 footers and 30-40 footers.  Before the round, you are trying to gauge the speed of the greens by hitting putts of various distances.

Related: Prov1 vs Prov1x

Play with a grateful heart and make more putts!

Tip #17: Control the controllable

Too many golfers get caught up in the emotion of the round and start getting angry at slow greens, slow play, or imperfect greens.  All you can control when you putt are the start line and your pace and of course your pre-shot routine.  Stop worrying about everything else and live with the results!

Related: Putting on aerated greens

Tip #18: Watch others putt

Make sure to keep an eye on others putting in your group.  It can give you a general idea of the pace of the green and any break that might be taking place.  You can learn a lot on a green if you aren’t putting first.

Tip #19: Practice at home

Practicing putting in different places is pretty easy.  Whether you have carpet in your home that you can putt on or you invest in a simple putting turf strip, find a way to practice your putting stroke at home and get comfortable with the putter in hand.

Tip #20: Embrace the challenge

Golf is challenging, putting can be tough on certain days.  Embrace the challenge and the journey to improve different parts of your game.  Part of the fun of the game is finding ways to get better and finding little tips to help you reach new levels.  Have fun with it all!

How many putts per round is good?

36 putts or less is good. To play at a scratch level, you will need to average under 30 putts per round. When you can average between 26-28 you have reached a new level!

The number of putts per round can be impacted by how many greens in regulation are hit and how good of a short game player you are. The closer you hit the golf ball to the hole or chip/pitch it to the hole, the lower amount of putts you will have.

Putts Per Round by Handicap

Handicap LevelPutts Per Round (18 Holes)
Source: Shot Scope

Who putts first in golf?

The golfer who is furthest from the hole will putt first. Once the tee shots are hit on a golf hole, until every golfer holes out, the next golfer up to play is always the golfer furthest from the hole. This carries into the putting green as well.

Relate: Complete Guide to proper playing order

Final Thoughts: Be a student of the game

Golf has so many little things about it, we never really learn it all.  We never conquer the game, instead we are on a journey to try to figure out that current round and the next time we get a chance to play this great game.  Have a grateful heart and enjoy each round!

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