Stand in the Scene to Aim Well
by Geoff Mangum
In orienting to the target, you are also orienting to the total scene, so don't neglect the usefulness of noticing trees or other landscape features beyond the green when you are aiming and setting up for a putt.
On long putts with some break, you can look along the surface for the break point, but once you find it, try this. Once you get a sense of the fullness of the break in the path of the putt, and identify an aim spot uphill and even with the hole, look past the green into the background scenery for some target at eye-height that corresponds to your aim spot. That is, look at the hole, scan along beside the hole to your aim spot, and then lift your head back erect and look for a corresponding target in the background. An example might be a tree or shrub or a house. Then, orient your setup to the putt with reference to this landmark. Once you commit to this landmark as the "line" of your putt, go back to assessing distance and the actual curve the putt should follow. But pull the trigger only at the landmark.
There is an ever-present tendency in breaking putts to plan on hitting the ball out high enough but then actually starting the ball off lower. This tip will help you avoid subconscious alterations in your stroke that send the putt off too low, without detracting from your sense of speed and break.
For more tips and information on putting, including a free 10,000+ database of putting lore and the Web's only newsletter on putting (also free), visit Geoff's website at http://www.puttingzone.com, or email him directly at email@example.com.