Tools for Better Putting

A carpenter's chalk-line and a CD disc are great putting aids to have in your golf bag. The chalk-line is useful to help you with your alignment and stroke. Find a straight six to ten foot putt on a practice green. Snap a chalk-line from the hole back to desired distance. Put a ball on line and make sure your putter and body are lined up properly.  Try to roll the putt right up the chalk-line.
     Use the CD as a mirror.  Lay the disc on the green and place a ball in the hole.  Take you stance until your eyes are either directly over the ball or just inside.



An elevated string line is better than a chalk line because the chalk line is most often oriented incorrectly off the fall line, with the result that the line is not a straight putt. This confuses golfers and is a bit rude to later players who find the indelible chalk line marring the green and the hole, especially when the line is off. The elevated line can easily be moved and leaves nothing behind. In addition, the height of the string serves to help the stroke stay low thru impact.

Using the CD to "get the eyes over the ball or just inside" is incorrect golf lore. The purpose of getting the eyeballs vertically above the ball is to check the aim of the putter face by running the line of sight along the ground sideways the same direction the putter face aims. Getting the eyeballs over the ball is not how this is done, and neither is getting the eyeballs slightly inside the line of aim. The old lore for this from the 1950s (in PGA Champ Bob Rosburg's Putter Book of 1960 for example) has two parts to the rule, not the one mentioned by golf pros since about 1980 in ignorance of the full rule: 1) place the eyeballs directly above the ball and 2) orient the back of the head and neck "flat" (horizontal) to the surface. Then the method is to spin the axis of the head to rotate the face and eyes straight sideways on the same line the putter face aims along. Then, the golfer is free once the putter face aim checks out, to use a completely different setup for the stroke, contrary to the current belief expressed in Golf Digest a year ago to the effect that the teacher didn't like putting his eyeballs over the ball because it made his stroke feel unnatural. Even this old lore is only a partially correct understanding of the geometry of rotating the face and eyesight on the putter aim line: the REAL trick is to make a perpendicular relation between line of sight and axis of head by aiming the face as a whole at the ball, and then the eyeballs will aim where the face aims. This "aim the face" makes the perpendicular relation automatically, but it is not generally understood or taught in golf. Tom Watson mentioned this once obliquely 2-3 years ago in a Golf Digest Quick Tip ("I seem to putt better when I look straight out of my face at address."), but other than that, no one in golf has talked about this geometry.