By Dr. Jim Suttie, Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Instructors

How to Set up for Success in Putting


The average player expends at least 44 percent of his strokes on the green. Generally, they have 35 to 38 putts per round, with two to three three-putts each round.

Part of this is due to reading the greens incorrectly, and part of it is due to a faulty stroke. The faulty stroke results in poor distance control – which results in poor putting in general. There are many possible strokes that work, but there is only one setup that gives you the best chance to become a better putter.

Here are some setup tips that will help:

  • Bend your arms at address so that your upper arms are lightly on your chest. This is one of the most violated fundamentals. Most golfers tend to stand up too tall with very straight arms. This gives you a distorted image of the line of the putt and will cause you to move your head and body too much during the stroke.
  • Get your eyes directly over the ball. Many golfers have their eyes inside the ball. This also gives you a very distorted image of the line of the putt as your eyes will tell you that the line is to the right of where it really is.
  • Place the ball off the logo on your shirt, with 60 percent of the weight on the front leg.
  • Bend your knees slightly and try to keep your weight on the balls of your feet.
  • Put your hands slightly in front of the ball.
  • Your forearms should be lined up with the shaft of the putter.
  • Bend forward enough so that the tips of your shoulders are lined up over the tips of your toes. This setup gives you your best chance to read the putt correctly, make a mechanically sound stroke, and hit the putt in the center of the face, which will give you adequate distance control.

Putting is golf’s great equalizer. Spend some time on the green with these setup fundamentals and watch those putts drop.

About Dr. Jim Suttie

Dr. Jim Suttie, simply known as “Doc” by many of his students is one of the world’s best and most respected golf instructors. He has worked with many of the top players but still loves to work with players of all abilities. Doc grew up in DeKalb, IL where he learned to play golf at Kiswaukee Country Club. He stills holds the course record of 63. Dr. Suttie has conducted his instruction programs at Medinah Country Club of Chicago, IL, Pine Needles Golf Club, Southern Pines, NC and Tamarask C.C., Palm Springs, CA. He instructs at Twin Eagles C.C. in Naples, FL, Conway Farms G.C. in Lake Forest, IL, and Jeremy Ranch G.C. in Park City, Utah. Click here for more on Dr. Suttie

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