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The other day as I was playing I noticed a couple of putts where I was playing the ball in different positions. Both slightly forward and middle of stance.

 

I haven’t thought too much about my ball position while putting until then. I guess I just lined up with what felt natural. I want to be consistent and more conscious of this during my pre shot routine.

 

All that to say, what’s your ball position when putting and pre shot routine as you address the ball?

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I actually just went through the same thing recently and have found it much easier to start the ball on line when the ball is just ahead of center. It is always interesting the subtle changes that can improve things.

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Position: forward in stance, just inside left big toe.

Routine:  Walk of putt distance.  Look at putt to determine break/line for speed.   step into the putt and make the stroke.   A bit more to it than that, but those are the basics.  

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Position: Just ahead of center on greens. Well ahead of center if putting through any fringe to launch a little higher.

Routine: View from side and behind (usually well before it’s my turn to putt). Stand at ball and several points along the line (before my turn whenever possible), as I can often feel slope with my feet better than by eye. “Go to school” on longer putts along my line when the opportunity presents itself.

Swing thought: Pendulum from shoulders, still wrists, and just let instinct take over. The less I “think” the better I putt. YMMV

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Putting position is middle in center and must be consistent.   Routine is practice from six to eight feet ( given winter and covid can do in house): 5 in row left handed, 5 right handed, 5 both hands (from Hidecki interview)- Prior to playing try to hit a few long puts on practice green - up and down; on course have to force myself to do following- read green, place ball with marking direction on top, reread to make sure, then set up, take practice swings (1-2) and then put. 

Remember you can only set direction and speed. 

This is best way I know to lower scores without practicing every day like a pro which is not an option for a worker bee.      

         

long and straight!

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My ball position is quite far forward in my stance:

My pre-putt: set up inside the ball. I typically take 3 practice swings, just rocking back and forth to establish the straight path feel I want. I settled in behind the ball, typically aiming the putter with my left hand before adding my right. I take a couple glances at the hole to fix the hole position (and my picture of where I want the ball to enter the hole) in my mind, and then take the stroke.

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There was a time some years (15-20) ago that I took a putting lesson. No matter what we tried I couldn't get the ball rolling smoothly at all. My teacher even called another pro over to have a look. Eventually we found that if I set up with the ball way forward, just ahead of my left big toe, the ball rolled well. I putted that way for a couple years. I then had the opportunity to visit Dana Upshaw for a putter fitting. The first thing he did was measure my old putter. It had -5° of loft! If the ball was in a normal position I was jamming it straight into the ground! With new putter in hand (+4° loft), new ball position, and some practice time I lowered my putts per round from over 34 to 29. Yes, that means my handicap came down by 5 strokes. I still use the same putter, and, in a lesson a couple months ago, while looking at my putting my pro said, "Don't ever let anybody change a damn thing!" 

The point of telling my story is that the specific putter you use may force you into a different position or stroke. If I changed the loft on my putter (and I check it two or three times a year) I'd have to change my ball position. It pays to get it checked.

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I position the ball a ball or two forward of center. 

After making my read, the routine is to stand behind the ball and pick out an aim point on the green. Basically looking for my start line. I use a ball marker with several vectors on it and will decide which one lines up best with my start line. Then I place the ball down, with the line on the ball lining up with my ball marker. I'll pick the marker up, get one more look and then step into the ball. I putt left hand low, so I use my right hand on the top of the grip to set the putter down and lineup with my ball. I'll take another look or two to make sure everything looks right to my aimpoint. Grip with the left hand, give it one more look and then send it home. 

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After reading my line I position the ball with the alignment mark on my start line.  Then I I set up inside the ball and take 3 strokes looking at the hole while gauging distance, taking into account uphill/downhill.  I set up to the ball with my eyes directly over the ball and position my putter with the putter alignment aid inline with the ball alignment mark.  I look at the hole (or the spot on the green that I want to putt to is there is a lot of break), slightly forward press and putt... not looking back at the ball before stroking the putter.

I used to putt with a rocking of the shoulders pendulum motion, but I was leaving a lot of putts short.  Now my putting stroke is more of a piston motion with my right hand with a slight pop stroke ala Brandt Snedeker.  The putter head stays low back and through.  I putt more consistently with this stroke.

We don’t stop playing the game because we get old; we get old because we stop playing the game.”

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On 12/16/2020 at 5:51 PM, TBS said:

 

The other day as I was playing I noticed a couple of putts where I was playing the ball in different positions. Both slightly forward and middle of stance.

 

I haven’t thought too much about my ball position while putting until then. I guess I just lined up with what felt natural. I want to be consistent and more conscious of this during my pre shot routine.

 

All that to say, what’s your ball position when putting and pre shot routine as you address the ball?

 

Ball position can depend on putter style, length, grip, and your delivery numbers for face and path angle. A fitting can help find your idea ball position to minimize "faults" in your stroke. I have a tendency to close the putter face with an in to out stroke. The further forward in my stance, the more I push the club head out to "go get the ball" instead of releasing on an arc around my body. To help consistently address the ball, I place the head of the putter in the middle of my stance. With the ball in front of the putter, I should be all set to deliver the club head on the upswing. 

If you forward press, you will either need more loft on the putter or bring it forward in your stance to help ensure upward launch and avoid trapping it into the turf. 

Routine: assess front to back and side slope of entire green on walk up from fairway, pace off distance from ball to hole after grabbing putter from bag, take aimpoint read at 1-2 locations along line to hole. Pick specific target: use aimpoint read for left/right offset from hole, adjust depth of target along aimpoint line based on uphill/downhill/fall line, find blade of grass 2-6" in front of ball along aimpoint line for alignment, walk up and square putter to blade of grass, set stance, stare at target point for 4 seconds to lock in on distance, trace line from target back to ball with eyes and rotating head, then hit putt with minimal delay while focusing on 1 specific dimple or letter. 

Swing thought is a phrase or count to reinforce good tempo and take away mechanical thoughts. 

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