Heads up Putting

Heads up putting refers to the technique of keeping your head up and eyes fixed on the target when putting in golf. This means that instead of looking down at the ball or the putter head during your stroke, you keep your eyes focused on where you want the ball to go. This approach is often used by professional golfers and can be a helpful technique for amateurs looking to improve their putting accuracy.

Rangefinder on Discount

Why is Heads Up Putting Effective?

There are several reasons why heads up putting can be effective in golf:

  1. Improves focus: By keeping your eyes fixed on the target, you are less likely to get distracted by other elements on the putting green, such as the slope or the grain of the grass. This can help you maintain better focus and concentration during your stroke.
  2. Promotes a smoother stroke: When you look down at the ball or the putter head, you may inadvertently make slight adjustments to your stroke that can affect the direction and speed of the ball. By keeping your head up, you are more likely to make a smoother, more consistent stroke.
  3. Increases confidence: When you can see the ball rolling towards the hole as you make your stroke, you can develop more confidence in your ability to sink putts. This can help you stay more relaxed and composed on the putting green, which can translate into better results.

How to Practice Heads Up Putting?

If you’re interested in trying out heads up putting for yourself, here are some tips to get started:

  1. Find a flat, straight putt on the practice green.
  2. Place a tee or other marker on the ground at the target location to help you focus your eyes.
  3. Stand behind the ball and visualize the line you want the ball to travel.
  4. Address the ball and keep your head up throughout your stroke, focusing your eyes on the target marker.
  5. Follow through with your stroke and watch the ball roll towards the target.
  6. Repeat the process several times, adjusting your stance and stroke as needed to improve your accuracy.

Remember that heads up putting can take some time to master, so be patient with yourself and keep practicing regularly. With time and practice, you can develop this technique into a valuable tool for improving your golf game.

Common Challenges with Heads Up Putting

While heads up putting can be an effective technique for improving accuracy and confidence on the putting green, there are also some challenges to be aware of. Some common challenges include:

  1. Overthinking the putt: When you keep your head up and eyes fixed on the target, you may be more prone to overthinking the mechanics of your stroke. This can lead to hesitation and inconsistency, which can affect your overall performance.
  2. Struggling with distance control: Because you are not looking directly at the ball during your stroke, it can be more difficult to judge the speed and distance needed to make a successful putt. This is especially true for longer putts, which require more precision.
  3. Difficulty adapting to different green conditions: Heads up putting can be more challenging on greens with slopes, undulations, or other tricky features. It may be necessary to adjust your technique based on the conditions of the green in order to maintain accuracy.

Tips for Overcoming Challenges

If you are experiencing challenges with heads up putting, here are some tips that may help:

  1. Develop a consistent pre-shot routine: By establishing a consistent routine before each putt, you can reduce the likelihood of overthinking and improve your focus and confidence.
  2. Practice distance control: Spend time practicing putts of varying distances to help you develop a better sense of the speed and distance needed for each putt.
  3. Adapt to different green conditions: Take time to study the green and adjust your stance and stroke as needed to account for slopes, undulations, and other features.

Incorporating Heads Up Putting into Your Game

If you’re interested in incorporating heads up putting into your golf game, here are some steps you can take:

  1. Start by practicing on the putting green. Focus on keeping your head up and eyes fixed on the target, and pay attention to how your stroke feels.
  2. Gradually incorporate heads up putting into your rounds. Begin with shorter putts and work your way up to longer putts as you become more comfortable with the technique.
  3. Be patient and persistent. Heads up putting can take time to master, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. Keep practicing regularly and trust in the process.

Heads-Up Putting Drills

Drill NameDescriptionEquipment RequiredDifficulty LevelRecommended Repetitions
Gate DrillSet up two alignment sticks or tees in a narrow gate to practice aiming and accuracyAlignment sticks or teesBeginner10-20 putts
Clock DrillPlace 6-12 balls around a hole at different distances, and practice putting from each position like the hours on a clockGolf balls, putter, holeIntermediate3-5 putts from each position
Coin DrillPlace a coin on the green and try to hit it with each putt, focusing on precision and speed controlCoin, putter, ball, greenAdvanced20-30 putts
Ladder DrillPlace 5-10 balls in a line from the hole, each a foot farther away, and practice making consecutive putts to improve consistencyGolf balls, putter, holeIntermediate5-10 putts
Mirror DrillSet up a mirror behind the ball and watch your head position and alignment as you putt, to improve posture and aimMirror, putter, ballBeginner10-20 putts

Heads-Up Putting Statistics

StatisticDefinitionCalculationPGA Tour AverageImprovement Goal
Putts per RoundThe average number of putts per round playedTotal putts / number of holes29.00Lower than 29.00
Putts per GIRThe average number of putts taken when reaching the green in regulationTotal putts / number of GIR1.75Lower than 1.75
One-Putt PercentageThe percentage of holes where the golfer takes only one putt to complete the holeNumber of one-putts / number of greens in regulation38.5%Increase by 5%
Three-Putt AvoidanceThe percentage of holes where the golfer avoids taking three or more putts to complete the holeNumber of holes without a three-putt / total number of holes91.6%Increase by 3%
Total PuttingThe total number of putts taken over the course of a tournamentTotal putts / number of rounds115.77Lower than 115.77

Heads-Up Putting Techniques

TechniqueDescriptionAdvantagesDisadvantagesSkill Level Required
Claw GripA putting grip where the left hand is in a conventional grip and the right hand is in a reverse grip, with the palm facing upMore stability and control over the putter faceCan feel awkward for some golfersBeginner
Arm-Lock PuttingA putting technique where the golfer locks their lead arm against the putter shaft to stabilize the putting strokeMore consistent and repeatable strokeCan be difficult to transition to from conventional puttingAdvanced
Face-Balanced PutterA putter with a head design that keeps the face square to the target line throughout the strokeBetter alignment and accuracyLess feel and touch in the putting strokeIntermediate
Forward PressA slight forward movement of the hands and clubhead before the putting stroke, to help engage the wrists and create more speed and spinCan help with distance control and accuracyCan be overdone and lead to

Heads-Up Putting Equipment

EquipmentDescriptionAdvantagesDisadvantagesRecommended Skill Level
Putter GripThe grip on the putter shaft that the golfer uses to hold the clubCan affect grip pressure and feel for the putterCan be difficult to switch grips mid-roundIntermediate
Putting MatAn artificial putting surface used for indoor or outdoor practiceProvides consistent surface for practiceMay not accurately simulate real green conditionsBeginner
Alignment AidsTools or markers used to help with aim and alignment on the putting greenCan improve accuracy and consistencyCan be distracting or cumbersome to useIntermediate
Putting AnalyzerA device that measures various aspects of the putting stroke, such as path and face angle, to provide feedback for improvementProvides detailed analysis and dataCan be expensive and may require technical expertiseAdvanced
High MOI PutterA putter with a high Moment of Inertia (MOI), which helps reduce twisting and maintain stability on off-center hitsMore forgiving and consistentCan feel bulky or heavy for some golfersAdvanced

Heads-Up Putting Mistakes to Avoid

MistakeDescriptionConsequencesCorrective ActionRecommended Skill Level
Ball PositionPlacing the ball too far forward or backward in the stance, affecting the angle of attack and strike on the ballInconsistent strikes and distance controlCheck ball position relative to stance and adjust as necessaryBeginner
OverthinkingFocusing too much on technique or outcome, leading to tension and poor performanceDecreased confidence and inconsistent resultsPractice visualization and trust in the putting stroke, focus on the process rather than the outcomeIntermediate
Lack of Green ReadingFailing to properly read the break and speed of the puttMisreads and missed opportunitiesPractice observing and interpreting green slopes and speed, use alignment aids if necessaryAdvanced
Inconsistent PaceInconsistent speed and pace control on putts of varying lengthsThree-putts and missed opportunitiesPractice distance control and feel for the putter on different lengths of puttsIntermediate
Poor Pre-Shot RoutineFailing to establish a consistent and effective pre-shot routine before each puttLack of focus and preparationDevelop a routine that works for you and stick to it, including visualization, alignment, and breathingIntermediate


In summary, heads up putting is a technique in golf that involves keeping your head up and eyes fixed on the target when putting. While it can be challenging to master, it can also be an effective way to improve accuracy, focus, and confidence on the putting green. By understanding the benefits and challenges of this technique, and by following the tips and strategies outlined above, you can work towards developing a successful heads up putting game.


  • Ray Barnes

    Ray Barnes, our Senior Staff Writer and a Golf Analyst with a PhD in Sports Analytics, is a beacon of insight in the golfing world. With a deep understanding of the sport's nuances, statistical analysis, and a talent for demystifying complexities, he provides in-depth analysis and captivating narratives that engage golf enthusiasts worldwide.

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