When you’ve reached the green, nothing is more frustrating than watching the golf ball roll right past the hole on what looked like a straight putt. Maybe you misjudged the read or perhaps your putter face was crooked.
If you find yourself missing your target line again and again, we’d recommend a simple training drill to help adjust your alignment perception and a convenient tool you can use to improve your consistency. The string alignment drill is a favorite of putting expert Phil Kenyon, who uses it to ensure the golf ball starts on a straight line towards the hole and that the putter face is aligned properly.
Another way to increase the consistency around your putting stroke is to find a putter grip that’s aligned with your desired hand positioning. With all the different ways to grip the putter nowadays, it’s important to pair your setup with the putter grip that will help you feel confident over that 5-footer.
There are a variety of SuperStroke grips you can use to feel at ease over your putts. Part of the purpose behind the string alignment drill is to make your perfect putting setup second nature – and that includes finding the best golf grip for you and then getting comfortable with your go-to hand positioning.
How to get your golf ball on line
Getting your golf ball on line starts with your setup. Correct ball placement is important if you want to ensure you’re aligned with your target. You might think you’re lined up towards your target, but until you take the time to practice and train your perception, you can’t fully dismiss your setup as a contributing factor to your misses.
One tool we recommend you use to practice your alignment is an elevated string line that will help you visualize what a straight putt setup actually looks like on the putting green. It’s simple to use an elevated string line and, because it’s so lightweight, it’s easy to take it with you wherever you go.
To start, find a straight putt on the practice green. If the ball is breaking left, move to the left and roll it again until the putt straightens out. Then, place one of the sticks attached to the string into the ground a few inches behind the hole. Pull the string across the hole toward the origin of your straight putt and insert the second stick into the ground far enough away so that the string is tight.
Using the string as your guide, line your golf ball up to the hole and to the string directly above it; the ball can be anywhere from 5 to 10 feet away from the hole depending on the length of your string. Now you know with certainty that the ball has a straight path toward the hole. Start making some putts and adjust the string as necessary until you’re consistently starting them and ending them on the same line. You will be able to see if the ball goes off line as you practice.
Phil Kenyon recommends that once you’ve done this, remove the string and then use your dominant eye to line up the golf ball to the hole. Train yourself to recognize your setup and putter alignment by sight so you have a reference when you’re on the golf course.
To figure out your dominant eye, simply form a triangle with your pointer fingers and thumbs from both hands in front of you and gently guide them back towards your face; whichever eye the triangle centers over is your dominant eye.
Straighten the face of your putter
Let’s say you’ve used the string line and have determined that your golf ball is perfectly aligned, but you’ve still missed the hole. The culprit could be that your putter is crooked and hitting the ball off your intended line.
In this case, you will still want to use the string alignment drill setup above. First, place your golf ball directly under the string with the line of the ball perfectly matched to the string above (you may have to stand behind the golf ball as if you were reading a putt to do this).
Place your putter under the string like you’re setting up to the golf ball and remove the ball; your putter should be perpendicular to the string. Using a Sharpie, draw a line on the ground along the putter face, creating a T-like setup toward the hole.
Next, line up the golf ball under the string again. When you remove the string, you can now see where the putter face should line up if you were to hit this straight putt. Using the reference line you’ve drawn, you can now calibrate your setup to the target line and note how to do so again later without the lines and string.
In order to replicate this process on the golf course without a string or Sharpie, Phil Kenyon recommends you take advantage of your putter’s features while you’re practicing with the string and note how it looks and feels to be properly aligned. Take those notes to the golf course, and you’ll be putting confidently in no time.
As for your grip, you can also use the design on your SuperStroke putter grip – like the alignment of the logo or certain colors – to confirm your hand positioning is correct so you can stand over the ball knowing everything is in place for you to sink that putt.