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A Guide (Secret) to Better Putting



Putting is a part of the game where we can all do small things to get better. You don’t have to practice 40 hours a week or have a stroke that gets a perfect score on a SAM PuttLab. The universal answer is to simplify the approach as much as possible.

While being a world class putter is an art form, being competent at putting is probably the least physically daunting task in golf — aside from maybe driving the cart. Putting generally provides the most stress and frustration, however, as our results are almost never aligned with our exceptions, which drives us to create unnecessary roadblocks to success.

That being the case, let’s narrow this down to as few variables as possible and get ourselves holing more putts. First off, you need to have proper expectations. If you look at the PGA Tour averages for made putts, you will find that the rates of success overall are far lower than what we see on on TV on Sunday afternoon. That’s because we are seeing the best players in the world, who in a moment in time, are holing putts at a clip the average plus-handicap club champion couldn’t dream of during a near death experience on his way to walking into the light.

If you have ever seen golf balls rolled on a stimpmeter ramp (the device used to measure green speed), you have probably seen something shocking. Golf balls rolling perfectly — the perfect speed, on a perfect green, on a perfectly straight putt — sometimes miss on both sides of the hole on consecutive efforts.

This is a very important point. The farther you get from the hole, the less control you have over making the putt. That’s why actually making putts outside a few feet should not be your priority. Hitting the best putt possible is your only priority. Then be resigned that the putt will either go in or it won’t. This might seem defeatist, but it’s not; its just a perception change. If you judge yourself on whether the ball goes in or not, you are setting yourself up for failure. If you judge yourself on whether or not you hit a good putt, you will be more successful… and you’re going to make more putts.

This sounds like something you’d hear at a Tony Robbins positive thinking seminar, but it has proven successful for every one of my clients who has embraced it. So what’s the secret to hitting the best putt possible each time?

Simplify the process.

  1.  Read the green to the best of your ability.
  2.  Pick a line and do your best to set up to it.
  3.  Do your best to hit the putt solid and at the right speed.

Reading the green is something that gets better with experience and practice. Some will be better than others, so this is an intangible thing that countless books are written about. My advice is simple; DON’T OVER THINK IT. Look at the terrain and get a general sense of where low point is in relation to the hole.

The reason why perfect green reading and perfect alignment are overrated is because there is no one line to the hole. The hole is over 4-inches wide and putts break differently with changes in speed and solidness of contact. I saw a video at the Scotty Cameron Putting Studio many years ago of dozens of PGA Tour players. There was a worm’s-eye camera on a 4-5 foot putt that was basically straight on the artificial grass. Few were aimed at the middle of the hole and many weren’t even aimed at the hole at all… but I didn’t see one miss.

So have a look at the terrain and be decent at lining up in the general direction that will give a chance for a well struck putt to go in or finish close enough for a tap in. Simple. After rambling on for several paragraphs, we get to the heart of how you can improve your putting. Narrow it down to doing your best to hit a solid putt at the right speed.

The “Right Speed”

I ask people after they addressed a putt how much attention they pay to line and speed. Any answer but 100 percent speed is wrong. You’ve already read the putt and lined up. Why is line any longer a variable? Plus, have you ever missed the line on a 20-foot putt by 5 feet? Maybe once in your life on a crazy green, but you sure as heck have left it 5-feet short and long on several occasions.

Imagine I handed you a basketball and said shoot it in the basket. Or what if I told you to toss a crumpled piece of paper into the trash? Having the requisite coordination is an acquired skill, but you wouldn’t grind over innocuous details when it came to the feel of making the object go the right distance. You’d react to the object in your hand and the target for the right speed/distance.

Putting is no different, save one variable. There’s the sense and feel of how the the green interacts with the ball, and that’s a direct result of how solidly you hit the putt. If you use X amount of force and it goes 18 feet one effort and 23 feet the next, how are you ever going to acquire speed control? That is the mark of almost every poor lag putter. They don’t hit putts consistently solid, so they never acquire the skill of distance control.

Since speed is a learned reaction to the terrain/target and consistency is a direct result of how consistently solid you strike the ball, that is what we’re left with.

Learn to Hit Putts More Solid

The road to better putting is as simple as hitting your putts more solid. Put most/all of your effort into what it takes to hit more putts solid. Now for each individual, it’s less about doing what’s right. Instead, it’s about avoiding movements and alignments that make it difficult to hit the ball solid. It would take an encyclopedia to cover all of the issues that fall into this category, so I will list the most common that will cover more than 90 percent of golfers.

The most common one I see — and it is nearly universal in people who are plagued by poor lag putting — is excess hip rotation. Sometimes there’s even an actual weight shift. Think of it this way; take a backstroke and stop. Rotate your hips 20 degrees without moving anything else. The putter and the arc is now pointed left of your intended line. You have to shove it with your arms and hands not to pull it. Good luck hitting it solid while doing all of that.

I had a golf school in Baltimore and told this story. Ten of the 15 people there assured me they didn’t do that. After 8 people had putted, we were 8-for-8. No. 9 said, “There is no ******* way I am going to move my hips after watching this.”

The entire group laughed after his putt told him he was wrong. The last 6 did everything they could to avoid the fault. We went 15 for 15. Many people are unaware that this issue is so dire. If you add the people that are unaware they have this issue, we are near 100 percent of golfers. I have gotten emails from 8-10 of them telling me how much their putting improved after all they did was focus on minimizing hip rotation and just hitting the ball solid.

This issue is not just the bane of average golfers; I’ve had several mini-tour players with putting issues improve with this. We are all aware Fred Couples would have won many more majors if not for a career-long battle with his putter. Watch the next time he misses a 6-foot putt to the left. As you will see, it’s not just a problem for a high-handicappers.

The best way to judge and practice avoiding this, it putting with an alignment stick in you belt loops.  If your hips rotate too much, the stick will definitely let you know.

Other issues include the well know chest/sternum coming up too soon in an effort to see the ball go in the hole, as well as:

  • Not aligning the putter shaft properly with the lead arm
  • Grip pressure issues (too much and too little)
  • Too much tension in neck and shoulders
  • Poor rhythm
  • Long back stroke

I could go on and on and on. The main point; find out why you aren’t hitting putts solid and do whatever it takes to do so, even if it’s something crazy like a super wide-open stance (with my tongue firmly implanted in my cheek). See the Jack Nicklaus picture at the top of the story.

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Monte Scheinblum is a former World Long Drive Champion and Tour player. For more insights and details on this article, as well as further instruction from Monte go to



  1. Sam

    Dec 28, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    This article is only a secret if you’ve never taken any golf instruction before. I’m hoping the editors of GolfWrx sets a higher bar for the content of any instruction piece.

    • Willy Wonka

      Dec 28, 2017 at 10:07 pm

      The editors of Golfwrx are not responsible for you not being smart enough to understand the point of the article. Obviously many others were.

  2. BigE

    Dec 27, 2017 at 6:56 am

    Great article. I’ll definitely incorporate this philosophy into my putting next summer. Although I’m pretty sure my hips don’t move – because I’m a sidesaddle putter whose hips are already squatter to my target tine!

  3. Bob Jacobs

    Dec 26, 2017 at 8:55 am

    Quiet hips are one of the number one things I focused on towards the end of this season and it did make a diffference. Not a shocking difference because it’s still a work in progress. I’m also watching for any hip movement when I watch the pros and most have close to NONE. I watch my buddies and as Monte states, they almost ALL move their hips. Probably the simplest fix which is the good news here.

  4. BigE

    Dec 26, 2017 at 8:23 am

    I loved this article. My goal this summer is to give myself a break and not feel like my putts have to be perfect. I’m going to do what Monte says and work on speed. I don’t need to worry about the hips issue as I’m a sidesaddle putter which means my body isn’t moving with the exception of my right arm!

  5. 8thehardway

    Dec 25, 2017 at 11:35 pm

    Excellent article that captures what I see with my buddies and most everyone else. To amplify one of your points…

    “have a look at the terrain” is a big deal, especially on longer putts. The terrain is a test, checking it out gives me the answers. Take 20 seconds to walk it out, get a sense of major breaks and the last few feet by the cup. Even if I get minimal info, the effort itself calms and reorients me to a different aspect of the game; it’s also the hallmark of a competent putter, a self-reinforcing cycle that helped me ‘fake it ’till I made it.’

    As to goals, on medium and long putts my goal is to entertain… the longer my putt has the potential to go in, the more excitement it generates; sinking it is just a bonus.

  6. GolfManiac

    Dec 19, 2017 at 9:34 pm


  7. RBImGuy

    Dec 17, 2017 at 5:02 am

    I do know the secret to putting and this must be one of the worst guides I read on that topic.

    • Willy Wonka

      Dec 25, 2017 at 9:35 pm

      All is forgiven. Please come back to work.

    • Cary

      Dec 26, 2017 at 9:28 am

      Did you know that envy is one of the 7 deadly sins ?

    • dlygrisse

      Dec 27, 2017 at 3:31 pm

      I do know the secret to trolling, and this must be one of the worst attempts I have seen on the topic.

  8. albert

    Dec 13, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Monte…. 42% of golf strokes are putting strokes…. and it’s incongruous if not insane to think that one putter can efficiently and effectively putt from all distances and on all greens.
    I carry two putters and one less useless iron or hybrid in my WITB. A putter for long putts and a putter for shorter putts, and also depending on green speed.
    An 8802-style heel-shafted putter and a Cashin-style putter… and both costing less than $100 total. I skin those with Scotty’s and that ilk of fantasy status putters. It’s hilarious…. 🙂

  9. Ed L.

    Dec 13, 2017 at 11:03 am

    Hitting putts solid? Really?
    Let’s define solid: 1) ball is impacted by the c.o.g. of the club (sweetspot), 2) club face is perpendicular to the direction of the swing, 3) loft is not added or substracted from the clubface at impact.
    Solid contact is only one element.

    • Monte Scheinblum

      Dec 13, 2017 at 1:13 pm

      You don’t think I’m aware of those things?

      It’s that kind of over tech talk to average golfers why they don’t get better and don’t want to take lessons.

      Instructors need to acquire knowledge so they can simplify the process for the average golfer…not parrot what they read in a disseration.

      • albert

        Dec 13, 2017 at 3:35 pm

        Monte…. and competent teacher will be science knowledgeable to properly diagnose the desperate golfer’s problems… just as a medical doctor will not give the patient the gory details of their disease; only explaining the treatment and providing hope.

        Science is intruding into objective knowledge starved game of golf. The old veteran teachers are struggling to survive the onslaught of Trackman, 3D video analysis, force plate analysis, even psychological remedies. The young gun golf teachers are loaded with scientific weapons while the old dogs are overloaded with dubious experience and good golf stories.

        • Richard Luczak

          Dec 13, 2017 at 3:44 pm

          Are you agreeing with him? Or did you just disagree and make his point…?

    • Richard Luczak

      Dec 13, 2017 at 1:17 pm

      You sound like the quintessential 5-7 handicap, Ed: just enough knowledge to be dangerous, but not enough knowledge to be any good.

      • albert

        Dec 13, 2017 at 3:27 pm

        …. and ignorance is golffing bliss …?

  10. DB

    Dec 13, 2017 at 9:06 am

    I’m going to look into this hip rotation issue. Definitely agree with finding the “right speed”.

    I moved to using a line on the ball, and changed my routine to where I completely forget about line once I have my ball lined up. Everything after that is just looking at the hole and thinking about speed. My putting stats have improved significantly.

  11. CP

    Dec 12, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    What about all the people who are using putters that aren’t aimed where they think they’re aiming? The only way to truly know where you’re aiming is with a laser and a mirror.

    • Monte Scheinblum

      Dec 13, 2017 at 1:15 pm

      Reread the section where I saw the video at the Cameron putting studio.

      Alignment needs to be competent, not perfect.

  12. COGolfer

    Dec 12, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    I read the article without looking at the author. When I got to ‘Excess hip rotation…’ I knew it had to be Monte.

    For me, stopping the hips has increased the odds of solid strikes with the putter. Now I just need to work on the mental part of accepting the outcome.

  13. G

    Dec 12, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    Video maybe?

  14. juststeve

    Dec 12, 2017 at 11:19 am

    Excellent Monte!

  15. bill

    Dec 12, 2017 at 10:57 am

    Thank you for this very insightful article based on your personal experience as a golf teacher. However, you did not delve into the ‘best putter’ controversy.
    What is your view on the difference between a $400 Scotty and a $40 Walmart putter.. other than $360? Thanks.

    • JD

      Dec 12, 2017 at 11:18 am

      Depends on the person. Putting is more about having something you like looking down at more than anything. If you “feel” more confident with a $400 putter, then you’ll likely do better.

      Technically speaking, if a $40 walmart putter plays at the swing weight you’re comfortable with, puts a good roll on the ball, and has atleast some forgiveness, you should putt the same with the two putters. But that’s not the case. Typically you get what you pay for when you buy a Betti or Scotty or Toulon, but for many an $80 Cleveland Huntington Beach will do just as well.

      Just picture yourself with a 6 footer that you need to knock down… what do you want to be looking down at? Go buy that putter. For me its a 2003 Scotty Cameron Studio Stainless.

    • Monte Scheinblum

      Dec 12, 2017 at 1:06 pm

      It’s all personal preference. It’s like asking what’s better, a really good fast food burger, or an expensive fancy filet at a restaurant in Paris with a sauce you may not like.

      • siggy

        Dec 12, 2017 at 5:56 pm

        Monte….. it’s interesting you equate putters with comfort food!
        Personally, I compare it to wine where a decent cheaper wine can be superior to an expensive snobby skunky chateau wine.
        À chacun ses goûts or “to each one his taste” and is used to mean “to each his own” or “there’s no accounting for taste.”
        How about a Kramski putter embedded with precious stones of your choice like sapphires, diamonds, rubies, etc., etc.? … lol

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The Wedge Guy: My top 5 practice tips



While there are many golfers who barely know where the practice (I don’t like calling it a “driving”) range is located, there are many who find it a place of adventure, discovery and fun. I’m in the latter group, which could be accented by the fact that I make my living in this industry. But then, I’ve always been a “ball beater,” since I was a kid, but now I approach my practice sessions with more purpose and excitement. There’s no question that practice is the key to improvement in anything, so today’s topic is on making practice as much fun as playing.

As long as I can remember, I’ve loved the range, and always embrace the challenge of learning new ways to make a golf ball do what I would like it to do. So, today I’m sharing my “top 5” tips for making practice fun and productive.

  1. Have a mission/goal/objective. Whether it is a practice range session or practice time on the course, make sure you have a clearly defined objective…how else will you know how you’re doing? It might be to work on iron trajectory, or finding out why you’ve developed a push with your driver. Could be to learn how to hit a little softer lob shot or a knockdown pitch. But practice with a purpose …always.
  2. Don’t just “do”…observe.  There are two elements of learning something new.  The first is to figure out what it is you need to change. Then you work toward that solution. If your practice session is to address that push with the driver, hit a few shots to start out, and rather than try to fix it, make those first few your “lab rats”. Focus on what your swing is doing. Do you feel anything different? Check your alignment carefully, and your ball position. After each shot, step away and process what you think you felt during the swing.
  3. Make it real. To just rake ball after ball in front of you and pound away is marginally valuable at best. To make practice productive, step away from your hitting station after each shot, rake another ball to the hitting area, then approach the shot as if it was a real one on the course. Pick a target line from behind the ball, meticulously step into your set-up position, take your grip, process your one swing thought and hit it. Then evaluate how you did, based on the shot result and how it felt.
  4. Challenge yourself. One of my favorite on-course practice games is to spend a few minutes around each green after I’ve played the hole, tossing three balls into various positions in an area off the green. I don’t let myself go to the next tee until I put all three within three feet of the hole. If I don’t, I toss them to another area and do it again. You can do the same thing on the range. Define a challenge and a limited number of shots to achieve it.
  5. Don’t get in a groove. I was privileged enough to watch Harvey Penick give Tom Kite a golf lesson one day, and was struck by the fact that he would not let Tom hit more than five to six shots in a row with the same club. Tom would hit a few 5-irons, and Mr. Penick would say, “hit the 8”, then “hit the driver.” He changed it up so that Tom would not just find a groove. That paved the way for real learning, Mr. Penick told me.

My “bonus” tip addresses the difference between practicing on the course and keeping a real score. Don’t do both. A practice session is just that. On-course practice is hugely beneficial, and it’s best done by yourself, and at a casual pace. Playing three or four holes in an hour or so, taking time to hit real shots into and around the greens, will do more for your scoring skills than the same amount of range time.

So there you have my five practice tips. I’m sure I could come up with more, but then we always have more time, right?

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The Wedge Guy: Anyone can be a better wedge player by doing these simple things



As someone who has observed rank-and-file recreational golfers for most of my life – over 50 years of it, anyway – I have always been baffled by why so many mid- to high-handicap golfers throw away so many strokes in prime scoring range.

For this purpose, let’s define “prime scoring range” as the distance when you have something less than a full-swing wedge shot ahead of you. Depending on your strength profile, that could be as far as 70 to 80 yards or as close as 30 to 40 yards. But regardless of whether you are trying to break par or 100, your ability to get the ball on the green and close enough to the hole for a one-putt at least some of the time will likely be one of the biggest factors in determining your score for the day.

All too often, I observe golfers hit two or even three wedge shots from prime scoring range before they are on the green — and all too often I see short-range pitch shots leave the golfer with little to no chance of making the putt.

This makes no sense, as attaining a level of reasonable proficiency from short range is not a matter of strength profile at all. But it does take a commitment to learning how to make a repeating and reliable half-swing and doing that repeatedly and consistently absolutely requires you to learn the basic fundamentals of how the body has to move the club back and through the impact zone.

So, let’s get down to the basics to see if I can shed some light on these ultra-important scoring shots.

  • Your grip has to be correct. For the club to move back and through correctly, your grip on the club simply must be fundamentally sound. The club is held primarily in the last three fingers of the upper hand, and the middle two fingers of the lower hand. Period. The lower hand has to be “passive” to the upper hand, or the mini-swing will become a quick jab at the ball. For any shot, but particularly these short ones, that sound grip is essential for the club to move through impact properly and repeatedly.
  • Your posture has to be correct. This means your body is open to the target, feet closer together than even a three-quarter swing, and the ball positioned slightly back of center.
  • Your weight should be distributed about 70 percent on your lead foot and stay there through the mini-swing.
  • Your hands should be “low” in that your lead arm is hanging naturally from your shoulder, not extended out toward the ball and not too close to the body to allow a smooth turn away and through. Gripping down on the club is helpful, as it gets you “closer to your work.
  • This shot is hit with a good rotation of the body, not a “flip” or “jab” with the hands. Controlling these shots with your body core rotation and leading the swing with your body core and lead side will almost ensure proper contact. To hit crisp pitch shots, the hands have to lead the clubhead through impact.
  • A great drill for this is to grip your wedge with an alignment rod next to the grip and extending up past your torso. With this in place, you simply have to rotate your body core through the shot, as the rod will hit your lead side and prevent you from flipping the clubhead at the ball. It doesn’t take but a few practice swings with this drill to give you an “ah ha” moment about how wedge shots are played.
  • And finally, understand that YOU CANNOT HIT UP ON A GOLF BALL. The ball is sitting on the ground so the clubhead has to be moving down and through impact. I think one of the best ways to think of this is to remember this club is “a wedge.” So, your simple objective is to wedge the club between the ball and the ground. The loft of the wedge WILL make the ball go up, and the bounce of the sole of the wedge will prevent the club from digging.

So, why is mastering the simple pitch shot so important? Because my bet is that if you count up the strokes in your last round of golf, you’ll likely see that you left several shots out there by…

  • Either hitting another wedge shot or chip after having one of these mid-range pitch shots, or
  • You did not get the mid-range shot close enough to even have a chance at a makeable putt.

If you will spend even an hour on the range or course with that alignment rod and follow these tips, your scoring average will improve a ton, and getting better with these pitch shots will improve your overall ball striking as well.

More from the Wedge Guy

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Clement: Don’t overlook this if you want to find the center of the face




It is just crazy how golfers are literally beside themselves when they are placed in a properly aligned set up! They feel they can’t swing or function! We take a dive into why this is and it has to do with how the eyes are set up in the human skull!

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