5 Best Putting Tips For Beginners

Putting is a critical part of golf, and beginners often struggle to build confidence on the green.

If you want to improve, focus on aligning your aim, mastering your stroke, controlling speed, sticking to a routine, and analyzing your progress—read on to learn more about each tip in detail.

Perfect Your Aim

Achieving accuracy on the green starts with proper alignment, which helps you consistently aim the putter face toward your intended target.

By honing your aim, you'll gain confidence and drastically improve your putting performance over time.

How to Align the Putter Face to Your Target Line

The first step to aligning your putter is understanding the target line, which is the straight path between the ball and the hole or your intended endpoint.

Set your putter down directly behind the ball and square the face so it's perpendicular to your target line.

An easy way to visualize this is to draw an imaginary line from the center of the ball to the hole, adjusting your putter face accordingly.

It's crucial to ensure your body, particularly your eyes, are also aligned parallel to the target line to maintain a clear and accurate perspective.

Try to avoid common misalignments like an open or closed putter face, which will push or pull the ball offline.

Using Alignment Marks on the Ball and Putter

Many golf balls and putters come with alignment lines or marks designed to assist with aiming.

Before your putt, mark the ball's top surface with a line pointing directly at your target.

Then, align the putter's markings to match this line, so the putter is squared behind the ball.

This combination will give you a visual cue that your aim is on point before starting the stroke.

If your putter doesn't have alignment marks, consider adding them with tape or a marker.

Straight Putts for Skill Development Before Complex Angles

Mastering a straight putt is an essential first step before tackling those tricky angles and slopes.

Begin by placing the ball a few feet from the hole on a flat surface.

Repeatedly hitting straight putts reinforces the correct alignment and hones your stroke accuracy, which is crucial as your muscle memory develops.

Once you've built confidence on flat ground, gradually introduce gentle slopes to understand how breaks affect the ball's path and adjust your aim accordingly.

Drills for Improving Aim Consistency

A few simple drills can significantly enhance your alignment consistency.

One effective drill involves placing two alignment sticks on the ground parallel to each other, creating a channel aimed directly at your target.

Place your ball in the center and align your putter face with the channel, practicing the stroke without letting the ball touch the sticks.

Alternatively, lay a chalk line or use painter's tape on the practice green to provide a visual guide, repeating putts along this line to reinforce a straight path.

Master Your Putting Stroke

A steady putting stroke is essential for consistency, and developing one requires understanding your equipment and how it fits with your natural motion.

Matching the right stroke to your putter and reinforcing the proper movement will elevate your putting game.

Understanding Different Types of Putters (Blade vs. Mallet)

Putters typically come in two main styles: blade and mallet.

Blade putters are narrow, lightweight, and traditional, best suited for golfers who prefer an arcing stroke where the clubhead naturally opens and closes during the swing.

Mallet putters, on the other hand, are bulkier with a larger, rounded head, giving more stability and forgiveness.

This design is ideal for those who favor a straight-back, straight-through stroke that keeps the clubface square throughout the motion.

Understanding your putter's characteristics will help determine which stroke style to master.

Matching Your Stroke Style to Your Putter Design

Once you've identified your putter type, it's crucial to align your stroke accordingly.

With a blade putter, focus on allowing your natural wrist hinge and shoulder movement to create a gentle arc, ensuring the putter face closes slightly on the backswing and returns to square on the downswing.

For a mallet putter, maintain a more mechanical stroke by using your shoulders as the primary driving force while keeping your wrists locked, reducing face rotation and keeping the clubhead square to the target line.

Practicing Consistent Putting Motions

Developing a consistent putting stroke requires repetitive practice and muscle memory.

Start by setting up to the ball in the same stance each time, maintaining your eye line directly above the ball to prevent distortion of your alignment.

Take several practice swings to establish the desired path, then smoothly replicate that motion with the ball.

Focus on striking the ball cleanly while maintaining a relaxed grip, which helps avoid jerky movements that could disrupt the stroke.

Key Exercises to Refine Your Stroke Technique

Some key exercises can further refine your stroke and reinforce muscle memory.

Try the gate drill, where you place two tees just outside the putter's heel and toe, creating a narrow channel.

The goal is to swing through this channel without touching the tees, ensuring a smooth, controlled path.

Another effective drill is the pendulum drill, where you place a coin under your lead heel to remind you to maintain proper weight distribution while using your shoulders to drive the stroke like a pendulum.

Lastly, consider using a putting arc or path mat to guide your swing and ingrain the ideal putting path specific to your stroke style.

Practice Speed Control

Controlling the speed of your putts is key to reducing those dreaded three-putts and building confidence on the green.

Proper speed control ensures that the ball consistently gets close to or into the hole, regardless of distance or slope.

Visual Cues to Measure Backswing Distance

One of the most effective ways to achieve reliable speed control is by visualizing the backswing distance needed to match the length of your putt.

A common technique is to use your feet or a set of markers on the practice green as visual cues.

Stand behind the ball, align your putter perpendicular to the hole, and take note of how far back you'll need to swing for a smooth, controlled strike.

By maintaining a consistent tempo and rhythm, you can then translate this visual measurement into an accurate strike.

This reduces uncertainty when gauging power and allows you to internalize the backswing needed for various distances.

Using Practice Greens to Gauge Putting Power

Practice greens provide an excellent opportunity to hone your speed control by allowing you to test and adapt your putting power across different surfaces and slopes.

When practicing, mark off intervals of five, ten, and fifteen feet to develop a better understanding of how much force is required at each distance.

Notice how uphill and downhill putts require different levels of power; adjust accordingly by modifying your backswing distance or tempo.

By repeating this exercise regularly, you'll develop a mental blueprint of what each length requires, which will translate into better performance during your rounds.

Common Mistakes: Avoiding Over-Hitting and Under-Hitting

Over-hitting and under-hitting are common pitfalls that can derail an otherwise well-aligned putt.

Over-hitting often occurs when players become too tense, swinging aggressively and launching the ball past the hole.

Under-hitting happens when the stroke is tentative, stopping short of the target line.

To avoid these errors, focus on maintaining a relaxed grip and steady rhythm, letting the shoulders guide the putter.

Rehearse a full backswing that matches the required length without jerking or pausing.

Drills to Improve Speed Control

Incorporating a variety of drills into your practice routine can vastly improve your ability to judge speed.

One drill is the ladder drill, where you place tees or markers at different intervals and aim to land the ball progressively closer to each marker without going over.

This drill helps you understand how slight variations in power influence the ball's roll.

Another drill involves placing a towel or target zone just past the hole and attempting to land the ball within this zone consistently, which helps prevent over-hitting.

Ultimately, by mastering these drills and practicing regularly, you can develop a smoother, more intuitive putting stroke that finds the right balance between pace and accuracy.

Stick to a Routine

Establishing a solid putting routine is crucial for building consistency and confidence.

A structured approach keeps your mind focused and your body calm, helping you sink putts more efficiently.

Creating a Pre-Putt Routine: Reading, Aligning, Swinging

The pre-putt routine is the foundation of a reliable putting game.

Start by walking around the green and reading the break, paying close attention to subtle slopes and grain patterns that could influence the ball's roll.

Visualize the path your putt will take and select an aiming point.

Once you’ve read the green, align your putter squarely behind the ball, ensuring your shoulders are parallel to the intended target line.

Take a few practice swings to gauge the feel and tempo of your stroke, then execute the putt with a smooth, unhurried motion.

Consistently following this routine will develop muscle memory and give you a reliable, repeatable process.

How Routine Builds Confidence and Focus

A well-practiced routine builds confidence by instilling certainty in your preparation.

When you know exactly how you’ll approach each putt, you can rely on your process to deliver consistent results.

This familiarity helps quiet any nerves or self-doubt, allowing you to focus on the execution rather than second-guessing your decisions.

The repetition of a good routine reinforces positive habits and removes the variability that comes from improvisation or uncertainty.

The Pitfalls of Rushing Through Putts

One of the most common pitfalls in putting is rushing through the shot due to frustration or lack of preparation.

Quick putts often result in misaligned aim or inconsistent tempo, causing the ball to veer off course or fall short of the target.

Avoid this by sticking to your routine, even on shorter putts that may seem easier.

Treat every putt with the same level of preparation and importance to ensure consistent results and avoid costly misses.

Developing Patience and Precision

Patience is key to executing a strong putting routine.

Take your time reading the green, adjusting your stance, and swinging through the ball.

Precision comes from paying attention to the small details, like adjusting your stance or grip pressure to match the distance or angle.

By patiently refining your process, you'll gradually develop the precision needed for sinking even the trickiest putts.

Stick to your routine, trust your training, and execute your putt with confidence, knowing you've covered every base.

Analyze and Adjust

After each round, take time to analyze your putting performance, reflecting on successes and areas that need improvement.

This review process will help you understand the causes of mistakes and guide your practice for better results in future games.

Reflecting on Performance After a Round

Once you've wrapped up a round, sit down and reflect on how your putting felt.

Ask yourself specific questions: Did you feel confident lining up each putt? Did you miss more putts left or right of the hole? Were most putts too short or too long?

Consider how each miss might relate to factors like your alignment, grip pressure, or backswing distance.

Writing down these observations can reveal patterns in your performance, helping you identify specific trends in your game.

Identifying the Causes of Common Putting Errors

Once you've noted these patterns, dig deeper into the possible causes.

If your putts consistently miss to one side, it could be due to misalignment or face angle.

If your misses are mostly short or long, speed control may be at fault.

Also, consider how mental factors like confidence or focus might play a role.

The key is to be honest with yourself and analyze your performance objectively, understanding that small errors in technique or mindset can accumulate over time.

Adapting Practice to Address Weaknesses

Armed with insights from your post-round analysis, adapt your practice sessions to focus on specific areas that need improvement.

If alignment is an issue, spend extra time on drills that help square your putter face to the target line.

If speed control is inconsistent, incorporate drills that help you judge pace more accurately, like practicing from varying distances or using markers as targets.

Tailor your practice routine to address identified weaknesses while reinforcing strengths.

Monitoring Progress Over Time for Long-Term Improvement

Improving your putting game is a journey that requires patience and commitment.

Track your progress over time by recording key stats like putts per round, average distances missed, or percentage of putts made inside certain ranges.

Compare these stats monthly or quarterly to measure improvement and adjust your training plan accordingly.

As your stats improve, you'll see firsthand how consistent analysis and adjustment lead to tangible results on the green, helping you refine your approach and achieve long-term putting success.


Improving your putting requires a combination of proper technique, routine, and reflection.

By focusing on aim, mastering your stroke, controlling speed, sticking to a routine, and analyzing your performance, you'll develop the confidence and consistency needed to thrive on the green.

Practice regularly, remain patient, and watch your putting game steadily improve over time.