I’ve found a way to improve your putting for only $3.79. Actually, Gardner Dickinson showed me his, and I was so impressed that I went out and bought one for myself. What I’m talking about is a chalk line reel, the tool used by carpenters to draw a straight line with chalked string. What you do is use it to put a line on the putting green running down the middle of a straight-in putt. Then you practice stroking the ball along that line. What you’ll notice immediately is that the reason you miss putts most of the time is that you’re starting the ball off line.
The chalk line gives you a visual aid; it helps you concentrate on direction when you to practice. The idea is to try to square your feet and shoulders up to that line, then set the blade square and stroke the ball. I was a amazed at how many putts Gardner made when he started the ball rolling the first 10-15 inches down that line – it was phenomenal.
On breaking putts, decide how much break you need to play – six inches, for instance – and then chalk a line from your ball to a point that far to the side of the hole. Make sure you set up along this line. Don’t align your body to the hole and then manipulate the blade to push or pull the ball on the target line.
I think you’ll be amazed, as I was, at how quickly you learn to control the swinging of your putterhead and the direction of your putts. Let’s not forget the other important ingredient of good putting – speed – but direction becomes more and more important the closer you get to the hole. On long putts, speed and line are equally important. On short putts, you often can get away with the wrong speed if your aim is good.
I suggest you use blue chalk so the greenskeeper doesn’t get upset, but the chalk won’t harm the grass. With an investment of $3.79 and a little practice time, it may be the best putting lesson you ever had. It worked for Gardner.