Last week I was wandering around rather aimlessly thinking about ways to improve my putting — not something I do infrequently. My journey eventually led to The Home Depot, where I made one of the shrewdest golf purchases in my life.
Putting is a simple art — that’s what makes it so maddeningly complicated. We can go down all sorts of rabbit holes about different technical elements, but ultimately, the goal is always the same: Start your ball rolling on your intended line. It’s why there’s more variation in putting strokes than in anything else. If you can do that, nothing else matters, and chances are you can roll your ball pretty well.
Professional golfers work on this all the time, and they employ a variety of different training aids to do so. Tees, mirrors, string, other tools. They’re almost all being used for the same purpose: To train themselves to start their ball on the correct line.
But if you’ve tried these and are looking for something different, or if, like me, you do most of your putting practice indoors, then you may want to try something else: A yardstick.
I picked up a 36-incher over the weekend for a paltry 98 cents and spent the weekend practicing on it, because it’s the perfect tool for practicing exactly what the pros do. All you have to do lay it on the ground, place a ball on one end, and practice rolling it down the ruler.
It was pretty difficult at first — I tend to pull my putts, so my misses tended to fall off the left side of the ruler — but after just a weekend of practicing, I’ve gotten pretty good at it. My putts start on the correct line (almost) every time.