Top 10 Putting Tips

How can you improve your game on the putting green? See more sports pictures.
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Golfing great Ben Hogan once described putting as "merely rolling the ball over the surface of the green by striking it with a gentle but firm blow" [source: Hogan]. Sounds easy, doesn't it? Of course, if it were easy, a lot more of us would be raking in big bucks on the PGA tour. It's cool to be able to step up to the tee and blast the ball down the fairway, but let's face it, putting is what separates truly great golfers from good ones. That's because putting is one of the trickiest skills of any sport -- a delicate mixture of muscle control and mental focus. When a skilled putter scrutinizes a 10-foot (3-meter) distance to the cup, pauses and then applies precisely the right amount of force to sink the shot, that triumph of mind over matter is a truly inspiring sight to behold.

In fact, you might call it downright poetic. Canadian poet and golfer T. Arnold Haultain rhapsodized in his 1912 treatise "The Mystery of Golf":

"One putter I remember whose putting was a delight to the eye. He seemed positively to infuse sight and intelligence into his ball. The way that simple sphere would start from his club, mount an incline, negotiate a curve, look for the hole, and endowed with some curious spin, drop unhesitatingly in without dreaming for a moment of rimming it or running over it or stopping short of it, was a sight to make one wise" [source: Haultain].

We can't promise we'll make your putting the object of such flowery praise, or that we'll make you into the next Ben Crenshaw or Jack Nicklaus. But here are 10 tips from various golf experts on how to improve your skills.