In respect to accuracy, it is imperative that you should act upon some well-defined principles. Proceed first by taking a glance back of the ball towards the hole, and trace the line over which it must pass, noting for subsequent guidance a particular blade of grass on this imaginary line. Take your stance and square the face of the putter at perfect right angles to the blade of grass you have picked out by resting it immediately in front of the ball. By resting the club in this way in front of the ball it is easier to get the correct base-line, and, furthermore, it assists in going through the ball properly when the stroke is made.
Now withdraw the club and let it rest gently on the turf close up behind the ball, taking care to preserve the correct angle. Let the eye run quickly over the imaginary line to the hole, so as to determine the requisite force to be applied, and then make the stroke.
Accuracy in Putting
Putting Off The Left Leg
Fig.26 Putting Off The Right Leg
Fig. 27 Standing Square Putting
If the club presents a perfect right angle in reference to the line of play during the period of contact with the ball, and no irregularities of surface or obstructions interfere, the ball will almost certainly run straight, and assuming that the right amount of strength has been employed it will stand a much better chance of finding the hole than if the player simply trusted to luck, and with each new putt changed his method according to the whim of the moment.
The matter of stance is of some importance. It may be said that there are three ways of standing in relation to the ball and the line of play: off the left leg - that is, with the weight resting mainly on the left and with the ball nearer to that foot; off the right leg - the reverse of the previous position; and standing square - i.e., with the ball about midway between the feet. The player must discover by practice which style is productive of the best general results, and having done so, it is advisable to adhere to it. At the same time, when the ball persistently refuses to be holed it is rather a good plan to switch off and adopt one of the alternative positions mentioned. A change of this kind is often beneficial.
The accompanying picture illustrates the grip affected by the writer. It is not contended that this is in any way better than the orthodox grip for the general run of players, but exhaustive tests - and under fire - have demonstrated conclusively that it serves its purpose somewhat better than does the prevailing style. It will be observed that both thumbs are laid down the shaft, and that the index-finger of the right hand touches it also at the tip, towards the back of the shaft. Grasping the club in this way, and with the fingers, one seems to feel it better and to be able more accurately to determine the proper degree of strength to be applied to the stroke. Then, too, it lessens one's innate tendency to pull the ball, a tendency which the orthodox grip rather encourages. Close observation of all missed putts discloses the interesting fact that by far the large majority go to the left of the hole, thereby indicating the presence of a pull, due to the arms being slightly drawn in just after striking, instead of following through on the line to the hole. Throwing the burden of the work on the right forefinger seems to counteract any such fault, and not only is the club guided better, but greater delicacy of touch is apparent, and, consequently, the matter of strength is better controlled and regulated.
Regarding the Grip
Fig. 28 Putting Grip Putting
It will be found, generally speaking, that better results follow by gripping the club pretty firmly, with the fingers - firmly but not tightly. A very tight grip is usually at the sacrifice of delicacy. A firm grip insures the ball keeping its line more accurately and not being deflected by irregularities of any kind. The rougher the green the more is this essential. The hands should be kept as close together as possible, the grip of the right rather predominating.
The club should be taken away from and brought back to and follow through the ball with a smooth, even movement, free from any jerk. A choppy kind of stroke, a tap, or a hit is not recommended. Putts may, of course, be holed by each and all of these methods, but not, I think, with the same degree of consistency. Endeavor to take the club back and let it follow after the ball on the correct line of the putt. Aim to strike the ball exactly in the centre, and don't be in any hurry to look up after the stroke. As a general thing, the centre of the club is the best part to strike with, but a great deal of course depends upon the balance. With certain clubs better results are obtained by striking somewhat off the toe.
In addressing the ball do not allow the club to weigh heavily on the turf; rather let the touch be very delicate. Whatever the distance may be, always go for the hole; in other words, be up. In this way a certain proportion of long putts will be brought off. Aim to be just a shade over the hole, but not so far beyond as to make at all uncertain the holing out of the next, in case of missing.
Endeavor to make every stroke with confidence and decision. Lack of confidence goes a great way towards inviting a miss. Don't unduly hang over the ball, and don't be too keen to note any fancied irregularities of surface between it and the hole. In respect to both the correct line and the necessary strength, be governed by your first impressions, and let the muscles act upon the information so conveyed without further ado. You may occasionally go wrong, but the general results will approve the wisdom of such procedure.