Let's talk about keeping your eyes on the prize across that green fertilized blanket of possibilities!
Are you putting inconsistent results but not sure how to troubleshoot it yourself? Come take a look at our recommended process of corrections.
The Importance of Eye Alignment
After the shoulder and forearm alignment, the eye placements are really crucial. This isn't because there's a right or wrong way to be positioned, but because there's a way that suits you properly that needs to be discovered and recreated until it becomes second nature. Consistency is key.
Many golfers question where their eyes should be aligned in accordance with the lined markings on training tools like the ProPath Putting Mirror, but it really just comes down to preference, performance results, and compensating for over-directions/illusions.
The question they should really be asking themselves is whether the positioning is consistently successful and repeatable. Answering that will take some trial and error.
Natural Optical Illusions to Account For
How you see a straight putt is so important - mainly whether it's accurately straight or not. You'd be surprised at the natural misalignments and tricks our bodies/instincts play on us. Not to worry - we have tricks up our sleeves too!
The curvature of the eyeline is prone to over-direction slightly to the left or right. In order to determine whether you're set up evenly in this aspect, or whether you skew things to a slight tilt right or left, here's something you can try:
Place an extra golf ball on the floor midway between where your eyeline's aimed pathway thinks is between the tee and the hole.
Now, use something precisely straight, like a measuring tape or laser, to connect your tee ball to the hole. Does the extra center ball fall slightly to the left or right of it?
If so, this may be the manner you're naturally inclined to perceive as "straight", and must therefore learn to overcompensate for in your 'straight' stroke path. Repeat the exercise a few times from different distances to be sure the result is consistent. You may realize it was your aim that was off more than your posture.
Correcting Uneven Optical Habits
You can manually try some positions in trial and error, things like:
- Moving feet closer or farther from the tee
- Opening feet farther apart or closing them less than shoulder-width apart
- Popping your bum out more or bringing it in
- Moving the ball a touch, backwards or forwards
- Standing taller along the spine
- Hunching down more in the shoulders
- Moving eyes inside the ball
- Moving eyes outside the ball
- Opening your chest a little more twisted towards the hole
- Squaring and close chest more perpendicular to the hole
- Pigeon-toeing your feet
- Bow-legging your feet
You can also, for more ease, use a training and correction tool like the ProPath Putting Mirror to act as a proprioceptive visual feedback aid. You can adjust your eyeline based on the engraved green stroke path centerline, which acts as an eye guideline.
You can then experiment visually with different alignment positions with not only your eyes, but shoulders too.
Your mind will start associating certain body positioning, and how they feel, with the visual cue that you've found has been achieving successful hole outs, until it eventually becomes like cell memory.
Pair this with a frontal mirror and you're in business! You can tell you're squared up if you can only see one arm and leg when looking over your shoulder into a tall mirror placed behind the hole.
One Size Doesn't Fit All
While many positions are going to be more ergonomic and practical/easier than others, there really isn't a 'right' way to align your eyes, or body in general, in putting. You'll just have to find what works best for you.
In fact, many pro golfers have made notable careers despite their unorthodox postures. Golfers like Jack Nicklaus, Michelle Wie, and Mark Hubbard all have bizzare putting stances that they've worked hard to make work for them - not against them.
Repeatable? Check. Conventional? Ehhh not so much.
Man could this guy ever get the ball into the hole though. He looked bananas doing it, mind you, with his open stance twisted left, elbows flared out, and hunched over the ball like a heaving cat - but hole out, he did.
Picture a stiff barbie, bent over, 90° at the hip over a ball that is an entire torso's length away, and you've got Michelle Wie's winning putting stance. It's known as the table-top putting style and it's pretty unusual to see these days. Is she good? Yes. She's the 2014 US open winner and she makes it look so easy.. weird, but easy.
There's really no words to describe this one. Heck, let's try anyway:
Everything appears standard upfront until the last moment where he raises and wags his right arm in front of him in what can only be described as a Beyoncé 'single ladies' style wag - pinky out. In a strange, but powerful, combo-move his bum twerks in tandem and wiggles as he proceeds to drop it low. His wagging arm now reaches unreasonably low on the shaft of the club so his pinky hooks and locks it into his left-hand handle swing.
This putt has been coined "The Snail" and it's one for the books.
As you can see, many people make adjustments from tradition to find what position at address uniquely works for them. This takes patience and creativity.
There's nothing better to use as a reference point than the ProPath Putting Mirror, which helps you experiment visually with what alignments work best so you can recreate them over and over for consistent results.
Find this revolutionary tool here!