Putting Stances

By Bill Herrfeldt

Many golfers work almost incessantly on their long game because that is where they think they can save the most strokes. However, on the scorecard, a 2-foot putt counts as much as a 300-yard drive. The moral is, you should spend as much time as you can on your putting technique, and a very important part of that is your stance. As the old saying goes, "You drive for show but putt for dough." Work on your putting stance to both lower your handicap and enjoy the game to the fullest.

Traditional Positioning

While a seasoned golfer will adapt his stance based on his confidence, someone new to the game might first use a more traditional approach. The newbie will be taught to position his feet about as far apart as the width of his shoulders with his weight evenly distributed over his two legs. If the golfer puts his feet any closer together, he is likely to sacrifice balance, the main attribute of a good putter. Furthermore, his weight should not be on his heels or the balls of his feet but centered somewhere in the middle of his two feet.


Some players, in an attempt to increase confidence with a putter, will modify their position over the ball. For example, Arnold Palmer felt more comfortable with his toes slightly pointing inward and his knees closer together. This "knock-knee" approach made him one of the best putters of all time. Then there is Briny Baird, who moves his right foot behind his left before he putts. Tiger Woods feels most comfortable with the traditional overlapping grip and stance, the way he was taught.

Ball Position

Some golfers will adjust the position of their golf ball to improve the "roll" of the ball. There are two theories that can be noted. For some, placing the golf ball toward the front of their stance will make them hit the putt a little later in the swing to make it roll more true. However, others will place the ball toward the back of their stance with their weight more to their front side and their spine canted slightly away from the hole. Some professional golfers favor the latter method to improve their strokes.

About The Author

Bill Herrfeldt specializes in finance, sports and the needs of retiring people, and has been published in the national edition of "Erickson Tribune," the "Washington Post" and the "Arizona Republic." He graduated from the University of Louisville.


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