Is there anything more unpleasant than an icy cold putter
There’s nothing like hitting it pure from tee to green, only to struggle on the greens. Even the best players can only survive this until a cold putter infects their long game.
Confidence is a delicate thing in golf. Without it on the greens you will struggle to score low or consistently. If you’re a lot of golfers you likely miss to one side of the hole most of the time.
If you are consistently missing right or left, you may have an issue before you even try to putt. Today, we’re going to make it easy to diagnose these issues, self-correct, and start putting Tiger-like confidence on the greens.
If you’ve ever asked, “Why do I miss putts to the left?”… then this article is for you. Keep reading to learn how to make more putts and some of the most common reasons you’re missing on the left side.
Pulling Putts Left
It is frustrating to miss putts you should have made, but it is something that all golfers deal.
Before getting into seven of the most common reasons you’re pulling putt lefts, let’s first reset your expectations. I’ve found that most golfers “think” they should make all kinds of putts but in reality, even the PGA Tour guys miss a lot of putts.
Here are the make rate rates for different distances in the season 2021:
- 4 feet: 92.19%
- 5 feet: 81.49%
- 6 feet: 70.34%
- 7 feet: 61.64%
- 8 feet: 52.94%
- 10-15 feet: 30%
- 20-25 feet: 12%
- Over 25 feet: 5%
If you’re like most golfers, chances are these stats shock you!
They only made just half of their putts from 8 feet, but most average golfers get frustrated when they miss the mark within 10 feet. Needless to say, resetting your expectations of what you “should” make is a good mental reframe before getting into some common putting issues.
1. Alignment issues
Now that we’ve reset expectations, let’s talk about the first reason you’re likely missing putts left – Alignment. I’d argue that your alignment in both the full swing and putting is the most important factor when it comes to playing consistently. Without proper alignment, you’re setting yourself up for failure before you’ve ever taken the putter or club back on your swing.
If you’re set up squarely to your target, you are much more likely to make a good stroke. Ironically, if you aren’t square and aimed right or left, your mind realizes (usually mid stroke). It then attempts to correct itself by pushing or pulling putts.
Don’t forget, the mind is a wildly powerful tool that can operate in a split second. This is why you should check your aim Before adjusting anything else. Too many golfers focus on putting or swing fixes before addressing alignment, which can only make the problem worse.
Instead, have a friend record your stroke to check for alignment. This can be done from a variety of distances (e.g., 5, 10, or 30 feet). Chances are you’ll be shocked at your feet and shoulder alignment if you’re consistently missing left.
It’s easy to accidentally setup open and think you’re pulling putts when in reality, you’re hitting it dead straight. Always check your putting alignment before making any adjustments to your putting grip, stroke, or anything else.
While most golfers think of alignment as your feet, hip, and shoulder line, don’t forget about eye alignment. Mirrors are a popular training aid because they can help you see clearly.
Poor eye alignment can cause our minds to mislead us and sabotage our ability to put the ball in the right place. It’s best to have your eyes over the golf ball or slightly underneath. If you’re standing too close to the ball, your eyes can get over it too much and skew your vision.
Anytime I notice that I’m missing on the left side, I always check my eye alignment. If you’re crowding the ball it’s easy to take the putter outside which leads to pulled putts.
Back to Basics Putting Mirror is a great way to check your eye alignment. This is 10X better than most mirrors as it’s larger and has a shoulder alignment line too. The mirror also has a built-in track for perfect putting strokes.
Click here to see our complete review of the Back to Basics Putting Mirror.
2. Green Reading
Once your alignment is adjusted, it’s time to look at another component of putting that has nothing to do with your stroke – Green reading. Like alignment, if your green reading is off, you’re going to miss a lot of putts; because even a perfect stroke won’t make up for a poor read.
Green reading is both simple and complex. Sometimes we make things harder for ourselves by overthinking the read, which leads to a lot more doubt and indecision.
Trust your gut is my number one tip for green reading.
Your gut instinct about how a putt will break is usually the right one. If you are able to see your ball going left or right as soon as you get up there, then go for it!
The biggest problem I see, and have personally experienced, is seeing the break and then second guessing with a second reading. This can lead to indecision, doubt, and a timid stroke when you are standing over a putt.
Instead, trust your instincts and try to make every putt. You can find the book here Putting out of your mindDr. Bob Rotella claims that every putt should be considered a green light putt. Whether you’re two feet or 20 feet, you should try to make every putt.
While you won’t make much outside of 10 feet (as the PGA Tour stats showed), it’ll help you hit a better putt and have a shorter next putt. When you try to “lag it up” vs. trying to make it you might have bigger misses and more 3-jacks.
Trust your gut and make every putt you can to maximize your chances of winning!
3. Ball Position
Your ball position is the third thing you need to consider before you stroke. The right ball position is critical for putting.
If the ball is too far back or too far forward in your stance you’ll likely add/remove loft. A putter has only 2-3 degrees of loft so even the smallest error can cause a problem. The ball tends to jump if you add or subtract loft. This can lead to a mess in the roll and leave the ball short a lot.
The ideal position to put a ball is in the front of your stance.
I won’t get overly specific as every player is different with their stroke, forward press, and putter loft. These factors play a major role in getting the ball rolling from the beginning.
4. Ball off the Heel
The alignment of the ball and the putter is another issue that doesnt have anything to do with your putting stroke. A lot of times you might think the ball is in the middle of the face but it’s actually off the heel if you’re missing left. And it might be aimed off the toe if you’re missing right.
Check that the ball is in the middle of the putter. This will help you to align the video. This is possible if you have an alignment video with a 2-ball putter or something similar. The balls should line up.
The alignment of newer putters is better than that of older models, which should resolve this problem quickly. I can recall my first TaylorMade Spider putting putter had no alignment. My putting improved overnight when I got a newer model.
Your putter plays an important role in your success. Make sure it has lots of built-in alignment. Don’t make golf harder by playing with inferior equipment!
If you’re in need of a new flat stick, here are our best recommendations for each style of putter:
- Best beginner putters
- Our Favorite Blade Putters
- Our Favorite Mallet Putters
5. Pulling Putts
If you’re missing putts left and your alignment, green reading, and ball position are good, it’s time to look at your stroke. If you’re pulling putts left despite perfect aim, it’s usually from an outside takeaway.
While you can have different takeaways with your full swing (inside vs. outside) it’s nearly impossible with putting. All great putters take the putter back almost straight (straight back or straight through) or they take it inside to outside. It is easy to square the putter at impact because putters have toe hang. This makes it easier to get the ball rolling.
Many golfers pull putts because they take the putter back outside. It’s nearly impossible to take the putter back outside then course correct on the way to impact. This is more of a “yippy” move and not a free flowing stroke.
This can be helpful if you purchased the putting mirror from above. The Back to Basics Putting Mirror has a built-in putting track that shows you the ideal putter path.
The Another great training aid for checking your stroke is the Eyeline Golf Edge Putting Plane Rail. This training aid acts in the same way as bumpers on a bowling alley lane, helping you improve your backswing.
The reason it’s so effective is because it matches your putter lie angle. Online, they said: “70° is the lie angle of most putters. Your putter will travel like it was built to – slightly inside the line and return squarely to the ball with ease.”
You will improve your stroke by using this method on the practice putting green. You can use it at home as well as on the indoor putting green.
6. Eyes follow the ball
While a lot of us say “I peaked” and look too early with putting this lead to missing putts right. If your eyes follow the ball, rather than raising your head too early, this can lead you to miss on the left side.
To finish your putting stroke, keep your head and eyes low. Don’t look up too early and follow the ball with your eyes or you’ll likely miss a ton left.
The goal is to find the “glow” after you’ve hit the putt. Tiger Woods and other golf books have discussed how the ball creates a reflection on the grass after hitting a putt. Try to “see the glow” Before raising your eyes and head to get the putt rolling on the right line.
7. Overactive right hand
A too active right hand can lead to a lot of missed putts to the side. A closed putter face can cause excessive pulling if your right hand has too much motion. This is usually caused by a weak grip and the putter face rotating left.
Instead, try to roll the right hand (assuming you’re a right-handed golfer) more underneath the grip. This will return the left hand to a dominant position, and allow the putter to steer. If you’re getting “flippy” check your right hand position immediately.
Anytime I experience this issue in practice I hit a few putts with the claw grip. This basically removes the right hand completely from the putting stroke and allows the left to guide the putters face towards the target line. This claw is also a great grip for fast greens.
You can also practice putting drills, but only use your left hand to hit the putts. This is a good way to feel the putter back in the dominant hand and remind yourself that the right shouldn’t do much. When it comes to your right hand movement in your putter stroke, less is more.
Next Steps – Create a Putting Schedule
Whether you’re missing putts left, right, short, or long, you need a routine. A routine for pre-shot putting will improve your confidence and help you make better putts. It’s one of the few things that all good players have in common and something you can start doing today.
Its easy to see that most average golfers are more concerned about 3-putting than about making the putt. A lot of golfers don’t get clear about the read ahead of time and stand over the putt with doubt, worry, and fear. This negative thinking will not lead to a good performance on greens.
You should also have a pre-shot routine for the greens. A good putting practice will help you.
- Play at a faster pace
- Make a system for reading putts
- With confidence, stand over each putt
- Force you to pick a target at the hole or apex
- Automate your thinking to eliminate negativity
- More often, get the ball to the hole. It’s better to have the ball past the hole vs. short so you can “give it a chance.”
You can start a routine as soon as possible to stop pulling your hair out!
FAQs about Pulling Your Putters
Are you looking for more information on how to make better putts and score lower scores each round? Continue reading to find out more.
How can I stop my 3-foot-tall putts from going missing?
The make rate of 3-feet on PGA Tour is close at 99%, so this is something you need to fix immediately. The easier it becomes to shoot lower scores every round, the higher your ability to become automatic from 3-feet.
Here are seven ways to make more short putts.
- Buy an indoor practice green
- Keep grip pressure by using your through stroke
- 70% of your practice time should be spent on putts within three feet
- Golfers should make more putts.
- Always accelerate through the putt. You should accelerate through the putt with a shorter backswing than you do when decelerating like many golfers.
- Keep your head down. You should be able to hear the putt drop in a cup from a short range, rather than watching it with your eyes. This will allow you to make a better stroke by keeping your head still.
- Rarely give the hole away; meaning, don’t aim outside the hole on short putts. To take the break away, aim inside the hole and hit the ball with speed.
What putter do you need if Im missing left?
Skip the face balanced style if a new head club is needed.
Paul Wood, Ping Golfs vice president of engineering, suggests skipping a face-balanced putter. A Golf.com interview he said, “If you miss left more often than right, opt for a toe-balanced putter. Why? The reason?
Don’t forget, using the right putter has a big impact on your putting. If you’re really struggling to figure out which putter to use for your stroke, invest in a putter fitting. It’s cheaper than a driver or club fitting and can help you buy with confidence.
Why cant I get all my putts in the right place?
If you’re missing putts right you likely have the exact opposite issues of missing to the left. Click here to see our complete guide to stopping missing putts.
Also, don’t forget to check out the Putting TutorDave Pelz. Use it with varying distances, whether it’s a short putt or long putt, to get your intended line dialed in.
Why is it that left-to-right putts are so difficult?
Most right-handed golfers prefer to putt right to left. But left to right? Not so much.
It’s harder to release the putter and subconsciously harder to aim your body lines as well. Not to mention a lot of golfers “peak” too early and lead to pushing putts and missing on the low side. These are the things you must practice to improve your putter skills.
Final Thoughts about Putting
If you pull putts I’m convinced these changes will help you quickly!
You can quickly improve your putting skills. You can make huge progress in putting by spending a few hours each week trying out the various fixes.
Putt practice should be limited to five feet. These are vital putts for every skill level and will help you keep the momentum going in your round.
If you’re still having trouble with left misses, test out different putters to see if you get better results. Finally, don’t forget to create a consistent pre-shot routine to improve alignment, green reading, and overall confidence on the greens.