How to Improve Distance Control on Long Putts

By Sandy LaBauve

When it comes to long putts you really want to pay attention to your distance control.

Reading the Slope of the Putt

I am going to read this putt and then take a minute to look at the slope, but then I am going to line the label up with the direction I want it to go and kind of forget about it and focus on distance. When I am reading for slope I want to get at least six to eight feet behind the ball so that I can see the line.

Hopefully I have been looking at this putt as I was walking up to the green and I am seeing if there were any balls that were bouncing to the right or the left so I might get an indication there too. If I can walk the putt I might do that too so that I can feel the slope. I can see on this putt just with my eyes that there is a lot of slope to the right so I am simply going to line up my label a little bit to the left of the hole, about eight to 10 feet of break.

Take Practice Swings Before Putting

It is a pretty tricky putt, I can see this little ridge, but now alignment is done for me. When I walk up I am going to use my eyes. I get far away enough from the ball that I will not hit it by accident, and I am going to make some swings just feeling the distance. I am looking up at my target line, swinging back and forth, trying to feel if I was going to roll it how much swing would I use.

Notice that my body is very quite, I want my head very quite and the only thing that is really working here are my arms and shoulders. My elbows are still staying rather close to my body. I just want to hit the putt solid, use a nice pace and make the right amount of stroke. I am taking practice strokes, feeling it, then I am going to step up, line my alignment line behind the line I have chosen, glance back up and hit it with what I just felt.

Hold the Finish on Your Long Putt

Notice how I am trying to hold the finish. Now I am very happy with that putt, it was a downhill putt, I left it a little past the hole but it is very make able. As long as I am getting my putts down there to within two to four feet and I am making my four footers like I have been practicing then I feel like I am going to two putt or one putt a lot of the greens when I am out on the golf course. You really have to work on your distance control. Practice a variety of distances so that you can get good and feel whenever you have to hit a putt that is 30 or 40 feet.

Rely on Your Eyes for Long Putts

Remember, rehearse looking at the target. Use your eyes. It is the best thing to give you touch and feel. Work on those long putts, it will sure save you strokes out on the golf course.

Category: Putting
Sub Categories: Alignment, Distance, Reading Greens

About the Instructor

Sandy LaBauve
Sandy LaBauve
Kierland Golf Club
15636 N. Clubgate Drive
Scottsdale, AZ 85254
Tel: 480-922-9283

Sandy LaBauve is one of the world's best beginner, junior and women's instructors. She is listed as one of Golf Magazine's Top 100 Teachers and is Founder and Creative Consultant for the LPGA Junior Girls Golf Club.