Putting for Dough

by | Mar 23, 2023 | PRO SHOP

“Putting for Dough” – Principles of Putting

There should be two kinds of putts….the first putt and the second putt.  If the first putt is the right distance, then the second putt is easy or even eliminated.  So let’s focus on how to putt for the dough…as they say because becoming a great putter can make up for many other sins.

When discussing putting one has heard it all. . .there are as many theories, preferences, stances, set-ups and of course, advice….”keep your head down”; “don’t move”; “listen for it”; “eyes over the ball”; “follow through”; “left hand low”; “buy a new putter”; and on and on.

So much information!  Let’s simplify and start with three basic fundamentals:

  1. What must the ball do?..ROLL and roll well…end over end.
  2. What must the putter do?…SWING
  3. What must you do?…SWING the putter to ROLL the ball

First – let’s first understand what a good roll means.  To roll, according to Webster, means to revolve or rotate around an axis.  The idea of putting then is to create topspin or roll the ball’s bottom over the top.  True roll results in consistent distance, keeping the ball online and tracking better.  The ball rolls farther with less reaction to variables such as grain or slopes, producing a more consistent result.  When the ball rolls end over end, it can now fall into the cup from either edge, not just the center, which increases the width of the hole by 2/3rds.  That is a lot, and more putts are made that way!

Second – let’s understand how to swing or how to use the putter to roll the ball.  Often you heard it should be like a pendulum – yes, but actually more of a NO.  It is more of an ARC than a pendulum.  A pendulum simply means to move the putter at equal distances on either side.

Putting for Dough

Keep the putter head square to the intended line to roll the ball end over end.   Here is the important part…keep the face as perpendicular to the ground for as long as possible.  As you move it, the putter head will make the shape of an ARC, like a saucer.

Third – How do you do that?  Your hands operate the putter no matter what type of grip you use, how you stand, or how you see the line.  Therefore, your hands move the putter and should move approximately the same distance back and through as the putter head.  If your hands stop as they approach the ball and the putter head keeps moving to strike the ball, the face angle will change the direction, not only to your intended line but also the relationship to the ground.  This creates a sidespin and does not allow the ball to stay on line well.

Therefore. . .to keep the putter square to the line and square to the ground, your hands must move forward while keeping your wrist position the same or quiet as possible.

After learning to roll the ball, distance, and direction can then be more easily understood and accomplished.  Other factors then can be introduced, such as reading greens to determine not only distance, which is 99% of every putt, but then how much break to allow.

Stay tuned for more to come on a variety of drills that will lead to more effective putting.  You will be collecting “all the dough”!

For more details on drills, visit or call 518-669-1551.

About the Author

<a href="" target="_self">Kay McMahon</a>

Kay McMahon

Kay McMahon, creator of Golf 8.5 - Simple Steps to a Classic Swing, is an LPGA Professionals Hall of Famer, a PGA of America Member, LPGA Top 50 Best Teachers, an LPGA National Teacher-of-the-Year and Director of Instruction of eduKaytion golf, known as a teacher of teachers, author, and an entertaining speaker. McMahon’s trademark Golf 8.5 golf instruction creates a simple approach yet accelerated learning for all skill levels - new to experienced through in-person lessons, live online, Master Classes, to Workshops.

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