Arnold Palmer putting advice

You can’t teach a player how to putt, but you can put across some of the
basic ideas to help him get the ball rolling toward the hole.
Where do most of the tournament players spend the most time? On the
putting green, of course. You can’t score without sinking the ball in the

When one of the boys wants to give one of his fellow pros the needle,
all he has to say is, “You’re the greatest putter in the world.” More nasty
things have been said about putting than about Russia. From the high-
handicapper to the scratch player to the touring pro, wails are heard about
their putting.

putting stroke

Arnold Palmer putting stroke

I’m no exception. It’s normal to complain after you hit two perfect
shots that travel 450 yards straight to within six feet of the cup and then
miss the birdie putt. After all, the surface of the green is specially prepared
to make the ball roll true. There’s no rough, no sand, and nothing to
worry about except the cup. It sounds easy but, of course, isn’t. Other-
wise, the men who build golf courses wouldn’t allow two shots to get to
the green and then two more to get in the hole for a par. Of course, to
score you have to one-putt, not only when you hit the greens but when you
miss them, too.

When I won the Masters in 1960, I was putting good—no doubt about
that. But you still have to play a lot of other good shots to win a golf
tournament, especially such a prize as the Masters.

On the first hole of the last round, I hooked my tee shot away to the
left of the fairway over some trees almost to another fairway. But I hit a
two-iron onto the putting surface 20 feet from the pin and holed the putt
for a birdie. What had looked like a sure bogey from the first tee became
a birdie.

The second hole is a par five that can be reached in two. I landed in
a sand trap on my second shot, but with an explosion shot got within two
feet of the pin. I figured that I was off to a flying start with my second
birdie.   I missed the two-footer.
Don’t ask me what causes inconsistency in putting, because I can’t tell
you, except that I feel that erratic putting comes from not doing the same
thing all the time.

Pick the style which suits you best and stick to it. There are a couple
of things, though, that have to be done no matter which way you putt. The
blade must be square behind the ball at impact. In other words, the center
of the ball and the blade of the putter are at right angles. And your head
must not move when you putt. Any movement of the head not only will
take your stroke off the intended line of flight, but also will prevent you
from stroking the ball the same way all the time. You must see the blade
of the putter contact the ball or you haven’t done the job right.

At one time or another I have putted every possible way, I think, except
standing on my head. Some of them worked, some of the time. Some
never worked. When I first went on the tour, I traveled by car. They
joked about the trunk of my car, but it was no gag. When I opened it
I had to be alert because there were 25 putters jammed in the back and
they might come tumbling out.

Through trial and error, I came upon one way to putt that seems to
remain the same. I use the reverse overlapping grip, which sounds technical
but actually is the Vardon grip in reverse.

putting follow through advice

The follow through

I have all five fingers of the
right hand on the club. I place the bottom three fingers of the left hand
on the club, insert the index finger between the groove formed by the last
two fingers of the right hand, and put my left thumb on the shaft so that
the fingernail is touching it. This immobilizes the left hand and makes
it just a guide in the stroke.

Although both hands move together, the right
hand does the putting. Many things can go wrong with a putt. You can read the greens wrong,
find a roll that isn’t there, or miss one that is. You can play a putt to break
left and it goes straight, or vice versa. And, most of all, on putts of 15 feet
or more, there is the problem of how hard to hit the ball.

I like to putt hard enough so that the ball gets past the hole. That way
it has a double chance of going in, once on the first putt and again on the
putt coming back. There is no worse feeling than leaving a putt short, dead
on line for the hole.   I think I’d rather get hit by Rocky Marciano.

  • Earl says:

    The putting article on Arnold Palmer go to putting setup really helped
    me. The putter in the hands in line with your arm and thumb on left
    hand just bent out a little for control.I find the distance is easier
    to control as well as a straighter stroke

    • Craig says:

      Excellent. I’m glad you got some value out of this article.
      Greens and fairways,

  • break80 says:

    @JuanLoyd Glad that worked for you Jack!


  • JuanLoyd says:


    Arnold Palmer´s “reverse overlapping grip” for putting is EXCELLENT!! Tried it today with super results since it allows one to move the face of the putter back in a straight line i.e. the line of putt.

    Many thanks for this tip.


  • CraigSigl says:

    Thanks for comments Penny. I couldn’t agree more! @PennyHowe

  • PennyHowe says:

    Craig, thanks for revisiting how important putting is to the game of golf. I have been lucky enough to break 80 many times. In fact, not that long ago I shot my lowest round ever–74! It was quite a feeling. Driving the ball well really makes you feel good, but when you hear that putt hit the bottom of the cup for a par or birdie(an eagle even better!)—-that is just the ultimate in my mind. Remember those putting strokes count the same as any other stroke–so only makes sense that the fewer putts you have the lower your score will be. The thing about putting is that any golfer can improve that part of their game and lower their score–but they have to want to and put a little time in. Well, thanks for listening to me–for me there is no better place than a golf course! Wishing you all lower scores and fun on the golf course. Penny Howe

  • CraigSigl says:

    Thanks Joe. Plenty of great tips on this site for you and your dad. Thanks for Livefyre! @joebertino

  • CraigSigl says:

    Hi John, I think you’ve got a solid foundation for consistency there with the putter. Keep telling yourself the putting is getting better…we become exactly what we think…sometimes, there’s a delay


  • jvosgien says:


    Played 18 today and putting is getting better. Greens are rolling better, more important, misses were usually misreads of the “lay of the land” or the speed needed to get to the hole. Still had plenty of 2 putts, and a couple of one putts (just off green and either chipped or used putter/fairway wood to get ball onto the green). I relate to Arnold’s grip, mine is just a touch different. I hold my putter in my hands so the palms are facing each other. The grip is covered at the top by the base of the thumb (also, I use a reverse grip – right hand high) and I use a double interlock. The hands are forced to work together (takes a little getting used to) which allows a more uniform (and repeatable) putting stroke. Using this style of grip (for me), helps keep the putter face “square” at all times, and reduces the possibility of the putter face opening or closing during the stroke.

  • joebertino says:

    Hi Craig! Joe from the Livefyre team here. Thanks for the article, I need some putting tips if I’m ever going to beat my dad. Actually, I need iron and driver tips too.

    I wanted to stop by to introduce myself and welcome you to our community. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions or feedback about our platform. Looking forward to getting to know you. Cheers!

  • CraigSigl says:

    This article above is from the book: “Hit it Hard” by Arnold Palmer

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