How to Align a Golf Ball for a Putt - dummies

By Gary McCord

Putting starts with alignment. You know you need to get the ball in the hole in as few strokes as possible. The trick is knowing how to do that. You improve your putting when you know where to aim the ball and the line it should follow.

Improving your aim as a golfer

Some golfers aim at a spot a few feet in front of the ball. When they place their putters behind the ball, they aim the face of the putter or the lines on the putter at that spot. Aligning to a spot a foot or so in front of the ball is easier than aligning to the hole, which may be much farther away.

You can also use other strategies to help with your aim (check out the photos for examples of these):

  • Take the logo of the golf ball and set it along the line that you want the putt to follow. This method can help you get a better visual reference to the line.

  • Use a permanent marker to make a line about an inch in length on the ball. Tiger Woods uses this method. The line allows you to achieve a better visual reference for directing the ball down the intended path. When you stand over the putt, the ball is already aimed.

    Aim the logo of the ball or a drawn line toward the target.
    Aim the logo of the ball or a drawn line toward the target.

Lining everything up for a golf putt

Players say they putt better when they “see the line” of the putt (the line between the ball and the hole). Some days the line seems so visible that you can’t miss. Most of the time, however, you have to concentrate to see the line.

Another set of lines that can help your game are the lines of your feet, knees, and shoulders. By keeping them square (at a right angle) to the target line, you help your eyes appreciate what is straight — and keep your stroke on line.

To help you keep the clubface square to your target line, try this drill:

  1. Place tape or a yardstick on the floor.

    Aim the tape at a distant target, like a baby grand piano at the far end of your ballroom.

  2. Set up at the end of the tape as if you were going to hit an imaginary ball straight down the tape line.

    Seeing the straight line between Point A and Point B hones your visual alignment skills.

This drill trains your eyes to square the clubface. You can use this exercise to visually process what a square clubface looks like. Spend a couple of minutes appreciating this perspective. If it looks okay to you on your first try, you’re in line for your Bachelor of Alignment degree. If not, repeat the drill daily until it looks okay the first time you place the club down.

If you’re having alignment problems, take a piece of chewed gum and attach a tee to the putter with the fat end flush to the face (see the following figure). Then aim that tee at the hole from about three feet away.

Stick a tee to the face of your putter to help align your club with your target.
Stick a tee to the face of your putter to help align your club with your target.