Know how to putt for dough

By Anthony Barkley
NZPGA Professional

We all know putting is a bit of an art. Some days we make putts, and other days its like the hole is the size of a needle point. But its an area of the game of golf that people spend the least amount of time on and the least amount of money.
In this article I will talk about ways you can look to improve your putting including some tips and I will also include my favourite putters based on client feedback and reviews. I’m not going to go into the different kinds of putters such as Counter Balance, toe weighted etc as I will keep that for another article.
Should you change your grip?
There are so many ways we can grip a putter and now it’s accepted that grips like Lydia and Speith (reverse grip) do work. It doesn’t seem that long back when coaches would frown if you changed your putting grip to a reverse grip but now it’s about finding a way that helps. In a previous article I talked about how skill will always beat style which I think relates perfect to putting. It’s about the skill of getting the ball in the hole. If you can have a method of doing this which gets the ball rolling on line more then you are onto a winner. A good stroke is important but in this article its more geared for those that don’t have hours and hours to practice. If you do have time to practice then you should start a long term approach to putting improvement with your coach.
When to change your putter?
If you are using a traditional shaped putter and having over 33 putts per round I would say you need a change. I would look closely at a mallet style putter (or larger) as they have a lot of benefits. Alignment is one advantage as you can use the back to get the face square to your desired line. This is also one of the most common faults I see as people often don’t aim well. They also encourage a straight back and through type stroke which for me is a simpler concept for the general golfer to grasp.
What about of you have the dreaded yips?
We all hate the word but what can be done to help the yips? When we have the yips with our putts its usually a problem with the signals from the brain to the hands caused through apprehension. Some simple ways to try and improve these:
Try the reverse grip or the claw grip when putting ( see your local pro here for help) as these styles of grips can actually reduce the tendency for the right hand to try and take over ( for the right handed player). The other way is to try a Super Stroke grip as they are proven to reduce tension and in my book, with so many professionals using this type of putter grip it’s a valid option.
These ideas are likely to be a quick fix of issues that will need to be sorted going forward with your NZPGA golf coach.
Further tip:
Create practice with consequences so you can make your practice more like play on the course. It’s all about handling pressure you put upon yourself. Put yourself in the situations that cause you to generally miss putts. IMPORTANT POINT: If you succeed with the putt you must give yourself a very positive pat on the back internally. Pause to record the feeling, and then go to another putt.
Fighting the yips is not easy but going at it with the right mindset should bring rewards.
I’m going to finish off with my picks of putters on the market.
Oddysey putters I feel still are the most popular putters on the market. If I was to pick two Odyssey putters to try I would look at the Works No.1 wide and the Works Versa No.7. The No.1 is wide enough for alignment and the No.7 putters have received great reviews.
PING putters are still great performers in the putter market and I would look closely at the Ketch model as although quite expensive, they are a very solid perfromer. The Grey Hawke has been a goodseller for us as well.
Taylormades Jason Day inspired Spider putters should not be ignored. The smaller one would be for most people but they also have the larger OS Spider for added alignment and stability gains.
Scotty Cameron putters would be still the world’s premier putter and are so well weighted and crafted that they should be considered closely. All their models are solid.
For my last tip I would advise you to not be afraid to invest in a new putter. It around 60% of the game of golf so invest wisely by finding one that suits your stroke, feel and needs. To help with this get your putter custom fitted for length, type and even lie angle as a 35 inch model (which is the standard length) doesn’t suit all. Also, resist buying cheap putters as you get what you pay for.
If you have any questions on content in this article please send me an email ( and please visit my online golf site anytime.