Putting And Alignment Are Keys To Lower Scores
Whether you’re just starting out playing golf, or you’re a seasoned veteran with a low handicap, virtually any golfer can benefit from solid golf fundamentals.
Golf is a game of constant improvement, and handling misses or mistakes. Working on improving key areas of your game is what helps you shoot better scores, and start dropping from the 90’s to the 80’s, or even from the 80’s to the 70’s.
Here are two of my favorite tips and drills that will help you shoot lower scores by converting more pars and getting looks at birdies.
1.) Practice Your Putting
It doesn’t matter if you can hit a 300-yard drive and hit all of your irons perfectly if you’re not able to convert those strokes into great scores. The only way to score in golf is to be able to sink important putts, especially in that 1-10 foot range. If you can sink most of these shots, you’ll be surprised at how much it will lower your scores.
In my opinion, putting is the most important part of any golfer’s game. You’ll hit at least 36 strokes with a putter over 18 holes, and usually half of all your shots will be putts, yet most people put zero effort into putting practice.
Practicing putting for 20 minutes before your round will make a world of difference on the golf course, and using a putting mat while you’re at home can really help you become an accurate putter.
Starting a putt on the right line is the best way to improve your putting quickly.
Here’s a great drill for that:
1. Pick a spot on a practice green about 5-8 ft away from the hole.
2. Set two tees in the ground about 1 foot in front of where you’ll be putting. Make the tees just slightly wider than the ball, so the ball has to pass through this “gate” to get to the hole.
3. Practice putting the ball straight through the gate you’ve created and into the hole, and try to make 10 of these in a row. This forces you to steady your putter, and have a straight-back and straight-through stroke.
4. Try this from various distances from the hole, and give yourself a small margin of error to help you become more accurate.
Here’s a good video showing you this drill, and a couple other helpful putting drills:
2.) Master Your Alignment
Whenever things start going wrong for me on the golf course, the first thing I look at is my alignment and how I’m setting up to the ball. *Most* of the time when you’re playing golf, your swing is most likely 99% normal, and the 1% is causing major issues.
If you don’t regularly check up on your alignment, it’s really easy to start forming bad habits where your stance is not parallel to your target line. This change can cause some wacky ball flights, like huge slices or hooks, or even duffs. Keep it simple and make sure your feet, hips and shoulders are all parallel to your target.
A really good way to help improve your alignment is to change your pre shot routine to focus around lining up correctly. This pre shot routine is just a step by step checklist of things you pay attention to as you’re stepping up to hit your golf ball. Using the same routine before every shot will help you become a better player, and fix those alignment issues.
Here’s how you can do this:
1. Stand behind the ball and visualize your target. Pick your long range target, then draw a line back to your ball and pick a target 2 feet in front of your ball.
2. Walk up to the ball, and set up your clubface to the closer target.
3. From there, properly grip the club, and then match your alignment to be parallel to the target line.
This is a pretty basic explanation of how to improve a pre shot routine to have perfect alignment on every shot.
This video breaks down every aspect of the pre shot routine to help you with your alignment and hit better shots:
With golf, mastering your fundamentals is absolutely key to shooting lower scores. These are two critical things to focus on when playing golf, so give these tips a shot and let us know how it helps you!
About The Author
Brandon runs a golf website called FairwayApproach.com, which is focused on helping golfers take a smarter approach to golf by offering game improvement guides and equipment reviews. He’s been playing amateur golf for more than 15 years. During the day he’s a technical recruiter within the financial industry, helping software engineers land jobs. He is originally from Syracuse, NY.