How close to the ball should I stand when putting?

Q: Melissa writes: "I’m just wondering, how close should I be standing to the ball at the setup because the toe of my putter is significantly up in the air?"

A: Hey Melissa, that’s a good question. There are a few issues to consider when the toe of the putter is up above the putting surface.

  1. First of all, when you’re standing a little too far away from the ball, the toe of the putter rises toward the sky. When you’re that far behind the ball, you’re not looking down the same line that you’re attempting to putt. Ultimately, that will alter how you see the line and cause more missed putts.
  2. Secondly, when the toe of the putter is elevated the tendency is to hit the ball in the heel of the putter reducing the transfer of power to the ball. The result is putts that can come up short of your intended target. 
  3. Additionally, by hitting the ball in the heel of the putter, the head of the club can torque closed and miss putts to the left (RH golfer).
  4. The final issue of being too far behind the ball is probably the worst. When you back away from the ball enough so that the toe of the putter has risen, it creates more arc in your putting stroke. With more rotation, there is less time for the putter face to be square to your target resulting in either right or left missed putts.

Solution: here’s the fastest and simplest way to cure these faults; by using a putting mirror you’ll be able to visualize with the reflection when your eyes are over the ball. That will drop the toe of the putter and minimize the problems described above. I hope this helps you Melissa.