Give Your Swing A Tune Up

Fix your swing faults and lower your score in 30 minutes

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All too often, I watch my students walk up to a putt without taking a true look at how the putt breaks. When you consider that the game's best players are usually the game's best putters, you know that the greens are the best place to lower your scores. That means averaging 30 or less putts per round.

Pick your aim point—the line you're going to aim at.

Choose an intermediate target 2-12 inches in front of your ball.

Alignment time! My putter alignment aid matches the line on my ball. That aims at my intermediate target and the stick. With the right speed, I'm draining this one!

Draw a line on your ball for better alignment.
Improving your putting doesn't take a lot of time, but there are three aim steps you need to keep in mind. First, it's important to consider how the green breaks. Are there any slopes or ridges that the putt will break away from? Are there bodies of water, drains or valleys that the putt will break toward? Are there nearby bunkers that the architect doesn't want water to drain into? (Hint: Your putt won't break toward it.) Once you've assessed the lay of the land, it's time for Step #1: Pick your peak aim point. This is the aim line you're going to aim at!

To give you the best chance at starting your putt on line, you need to learn how to aim your ball correctly. Check out what I'm doing here. I used an alignment aid to draw a straight line (you can also use the manufacturer's name on the side) down the side of my ball. Step #2: Aim that line where you want the ball to start, (your peak aim point). I'm using a directional stick to indicate the line I want my ball to start on. This putt will break to the left, and it's a little downhill, so it's vital that I start the putt on the peak aim point. Step #3, create an intermediate aim target two to 12 inches in front of the ball, so when you set up to the ball, your putter, ball and intermediate target are all on same line. When all three aim points line up, you can trust your aim and putt with feel. Now you'll make a lot more putts inside 10 feet.

It's important, when you play golf, to not get too technical. Leave all the tweaking and swing analysis for the driving range, because on the course, it'll just lead to overthinking and tension, and your athletic skills will start to diminish. When playing, you want to have simple images and play by feel so you can be an athlete, not a technician. In putting, speed determines the line, so it's critical that you develop speed/distance control with your putter.

To help get a feel for a green's speed, stroke some long putts, as I'm doing here, when you warm up for your round. Place three balls about 30 feet from the cup and putt them. Try to make all three, but more importantly, get a sense of how fast or slow the greens are that day. A great way to improve your feel for speed/distance control is to practice putting with your eyes looking at the hole. Feel the putterhead as you stroke your ball. Once the feel of the putter converges with your eyes' target, you'll improve your control. Once you develop a feel for control, you'll get connected to the greens and you'll start to literally develop a sensation for playing with feel. And once you can control your speed, you'll eliminate most three-putts.

PGA professional and Senior Instruction Editor Glenn Deck is regarded as one of the country's top-100 teachers. He's director of instruction at The Pelican Hill Golf Academy at The Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Coast, Calif. For more info, visit


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