Of all the different strokes in golf, putting is one of the most recognizable, but what is a putt in golf terms? If you’ve spent time on a golf course or watching golf on television, you may hear terms such as drive, approach, lay-up, or chip. You’ll also hear people saying the golfer is now on the putting green.
So now you’re wondering, what is a putt in golf? A golf putt is a carefully measured, low-speed stroke intended to roll the golf ball across the green and into (or very near) the hole.
Keep reading because we cover when to putt, step-by-step instructions how to putt (best putter stance), and finally where to putt from.
When to Putt
Let’s imagine you’re playing your first round of golf and you’re still learning what all the different golf clubs do and when to use them. When do you putt and which golf club is best for this task? I’ve got good news! It’s very easy to remember because when you putt, you’ll use a (any guesses?) putter.
The putter is a golf club specifically designed for the putting stroke. Its design features a slightly tilted and lifted golf head that slightly lifts the golf ball out of the patch of grass it has come to rest in. The club head is designed to minimize the spin of the ball and encourage the ball to glide smoothly across the grass.
Putting usually takes place on the putting green (the flat, grassy area around and near the hole). This is the area you’ll strive to get your ball into. This is the path that leads to its final destination – the hole. Playing a hole in golf is done in a few different steps. Depending on the par of the hole, you’ll usually have a couple of hits to get your ball to the putting green.
How to Putt in Golf
So your ball has successfully arrived at the putting green, now what? Now it’s time to putt. There are various resources to describe exactly how to putt, but the best way to figure it out is to get on the golf course and feel it for yourself.
That said, here’s a basic overview of the putting process. Your ball has landed on the putting green.
Now is the time to get a feel for where the ball is and how far it needs to go to reach the hole.
You’ll need to take weather factors into consideration such as whether the wind is blowing or not and which direction it’s coming from. The slightest breeze can have the potential to nudge your ball onto an undesirable path.
Some golfers will just visualize a straight line from the ball to the hole and that works well enough for them to land the shot.
Many golfers also “read the green”.
Reading the green is a process where a golfer (or their caddy) will walk around the area the ball has landed in. This includes right around the hole and the path the golf ball will need to take to get to the hole.
Also check for any slope or bumps in the ground. The type of grass and the lay of the grass needs to be taken into consideration because all of these seemingly small details will affect the way the golf ball rolls.
Now it’s finally time to actually hit the ball.
Take into account everything you’ve just visualized and explored about the path to the hole and take your putting stance.
To take a proper putting stance you’ll want your feet pointing forward, about hip-width. The golf ball itself should be positioned slightly ahead of the center of your stance.
For a right-handed golfer, you’ll rest your putter on the ground and position your hands so that the putter grip points towards your left hip and your hands are slightly ahead of the ball.
Make sure your shoulders are relaxed and then hit your ball. If you’ve read the green well, you’ll have no problem getting the ball to its destination. If not, you’ll have to start over and take another shot.
Putting is literally hit or miss, but the putting stroke itself is very straightforward. Just imagine a pendulum swinging back and forth. That’s the same type of path you want your golf club to take when swinging on the ball.
Some golfers use the strategy of focusing on the hole rather than the ball while others may focus a little bit past the hole. It really is just a matter of personal preference and what works best for you.
Where to Putt From
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. Putting doesn’t always solely take place on the putting green. There are instances where a golf player might putt from a different location on the golf course.
Technically, you can putt from anywhere on the golf course. For example, if your ball has landed in the rough next to the putting green. You may be able to putt the ball onto the green, depending on the lay and the height of the grass. This is not really a time that’s recommended to try and putt.
If you are more than 20 yards away from the hole, putting is also not really recommended.
Also to note, while you can putt from the fairway (the closely mown area between the tee and the putting green), this is usually not the most desirable option either.
You’ll also not want to putt anywhere other than the putting green if the grass is wet. The moisture has the potential to slow the ball down and you’ll not be able to get the ball to cover as much ground as you would like.
There are situations where you can successfully putt from the fringe (the edging around the putting surface). Simply adjust your putting stance in a way that allows you to swing and hit the ball so that it avoids the taller grass in the area.
For the best results, your best bet is to stick to putting from the putting green, as that’s what it is designed for.
Conclusion: What is a Golf Putt?
Putting as a whole is a simple stroke. When performed correctly, on the proper playing surface such as the putting green, it is likely you’ll be able to land your ball into the hole with no problem. Remember, the ultimate goal is to get your ball into the hole and that’s what the putt is designed to do!