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How That “Sharpie” Line Could Be Killing Your Putting Performance


Are you more concerned about where the sharpie line you squiggled on your ball is pointing as opposed to where your putter face is aiming?  If you spend enough time lining up your putt that the stimp on the green slows from 11 to 9, you might be killing your putting.

I’m sure you’ve witnessed the three distinct ways in which people align themselves to their intended target when putting.

  • They see straight lines and putt to an intended target, hopefully a specific target.
  • They see a curved line from their ball to the hole and line themselves up to their intended target on that curved line, hopefully a specific target.
  • With their heads up their a$!%s.

You know you putt with your head up your bottom when you walk up to your ball and just hit it in the direction of the hole and wonder why you missed it… on a green that is pitched like a church steeple.

Lining up the 1/2 inch sharpie line, that was meticulously squiggled on your ball prior to the round, to a target more than five feet away falls under the same category.
Way out there... good luck How on earth is anybody able to line up a 1/2 inch mark with a specific spot 5-50 feet away?

One-degree offline at five feet and you’ll most likely miss the putt. One degree is all it takes!  It’s nearly impossible.

The problem is that if you don’t line up this little line just right (we’re talking fractions of a degree here) you’re never going to make a putt.  I think it’s safe to say that there have been times when you’ve lined up your little sharpie line and then consciously didn’t hit it where it was pointing because you completely second guessed where you aimed it.

You weren’t comfortable.

I know I’ve done it.  And I don’t use an alignment mark anymore for this exact reason.

When I did, I became more concerned that it wasn’t lined up properly and would second-guess everything I had done up to the point of pulling the trigger.  But I would still pull the trigger. Idiot.

Putting is hard, and it’s even harder when we aren’t committed to what we are trying to do.

Sinking the putt!

Here is a simple step-by-step process that may or may not help you:

Scope out the putt from three angles.  This shouldn’t take more more than a minute total.  While We’re Young.

1) The first angle, and I think the most important angle, is when you’re walking up to the green.  Do a quick scan and find out where the highest point in the green is and where the lowest point is.  This will give you the best indication of the overall slope of the green.
The High & Low Of It There may be two to three high & low points in the green but you’re only concerned with the ones that are closest to your ball.

2) The second angle is from the side; do this as you walk up to your ball on the green. This will tell you how far from the hole you are.  If you’re new to golf, you might want to do a rough step off as you take the pin out.

3) The third angle is from behind the ball and this will tell you, combined with all the other information how much the ball is going to break.

Putter Line

4) Then figure out your intended target (be specific!) by lining up your putter with your ball on the intended line.

5) Then find a discoloration in the green, or a ball mark, or a blade of grass about three to six inches in front of your ball on your intended line.

Specific Target6) Line up your putter face to that mark.  Don’t even worry about trying to line up to a spot 5, 10, 20 feet away.

Once you’re lined up, pull the trigger.

See it, feel it, commit!

I think a misconception that people have is that this little squiggle dictates where the ball goes and this is just not true.  Your putter face and swing path dictates where the ball goes.

Don’t worry about where your ball is lined up- because let’s be honest, it’s round.  You can’t line up a round object.

Concentrate on lining up your putter face to your target.

If you are hell bent on using the alignment mark, line it up with a specific target no more than 6 inches in front of your ball.  This will at least give you better odds that it’s lined up to your target properly.

Then you can make a committed stroke.  See It.  Feel It.  Commit!

Whether you agree or disagree, I’d love to hear how you line up your putts.  Leave me a message in the comments.