Getting More Putts to the Hole

Asheville Golf Home

Dear Jitterbug,

I have a very difficult time getting my putts to the hole. For whatever reason, I just don’t give them enough juice. Sometimes, in an attempt to remedy the situation, I remind myself to give the ball a good rap only to knock it too far. Can you help?

Bill Walters

Jitterbug Gang Fan


I’ve been through it myself, Bill. And, I’ve watched others suffer from short putting too. From what I’ve seen, the problem stems from one primary problem: too short of a backswing.

Golfers, during times of uncertainty, react by shortening things up, and the first thing that shortens is the backswing. What follows is a chain reaction.

The golfer reacts to a short backswing by hurriedly starting the through stroke. This requires an increase in grip pressure, that is, tightening of the hands. The hands can’t tighten without the forearms, upper arms and shoulders tightening too. Tight muscles, of course, shorten, and so doing, raise the putter higher off the surface of the green, setting the stage for less than crisp impact with the ball. Less than crisp impact means the ball won’t get to the hole, and the cycle is sure to repeat as the poor result brings about more uncertainty.

All this can be avoided if the golfer experiencing self-doubt and fear remind himself to take a large enough backswing to ease through the hitting area.

Mr. Vaughn:

Short backswinging can be traced back to the practice stroke. Too often, a golfer stands over a 60-foot putt performing back-and-through practice strokes as if he’s preparing to roll a ball 15 feet.

Folks, a practice swing isn’t merely a rehearsal swing. It is the Dress Rehearsal! It is the last chance to get it all together, because coming up next is a live performance. So, why not make your rehearsal stroke EXACTLY the one you hope to reproduce for your next shot?

I guess for some folks that’s just too much to ask.

Lord Berry:

From what I’ve observed, golfers who consistently leave putts short are out of touch with where the hole is. If setting up and stroking a putt takes 20 seconds, putters with good distance control spend at least 15 seconds staring, with both eyes, directly at the hole. The remaining five or so seconds are used to square the blade and body.

Those numbers are approximately reversed for putters who possess less skill.

Asheville Golf Home

Ask Jitterbug - Golf Advice Column by Bobby Steiner

Ask Jitterbug - Author Bobby Steiner

About the Author

The following are a list of golf teaching columns generously donated to us by teaching professional and author Bobby Steiner. Bobby teaches golf at The Practice Tee in East Asheville during the summer months, and at The Westin Mission Hills Resort during the winter.

You can reach Bobby at: or

All the Same Distance

I hit all my clubs, seven-iron and longer, the same distance. Do you know of a cure?

Bad Rhythm

My swing rhythm gets fast when I play. Do you have any suggestions to help me slow down?

Bad Teacher

There is a young assistant golf professional at our club who plays extremely well, but could use some help as a teacher. Any suggestions that might help him?

Ball Position

Can you explain your take on ball position? Forward for longer clubs? Back for shorter clubs?

Die or Lag

Do you think it is better to be a firm putter, or to putt the ball so that it barely drops into the cup?

Fanning the Club

My tendency is to fan my hands to the inside on the takeaway. When I use a straight takeaway I can't hit the ball.

Fix is the Problem

My friend has a knack for giving me helpful tips when we play. It works for about six holes, then I totally collapse. Have you heard of this?

Get the Ball to the Hole

I have a very difficult time getting my putts to the hole. Can you help?

Golf Schools

Are golf schools worth the money?

Guide the Ball

My golf instructor tells me that I try to 'guide' the ball too much. I've never heard this term, is it a bad thing?

Hip Slide

Can you explain the proper way to pivot during the backswing?

How Many Hours

I'm currently a solid 8-handicap, but I've reached a plateau. How might I rework my practice regimen to improve steadily like I used to?

Kids Learning Curve

My thirteen-year old son and I took up golf four years ago. Now, I am still struggling to break 100 while he shoots low 80s. How do I catch up?

Length of Backswing

I've read that the putting stroke should be the same length going back as going through. What is your take on it?

Long and Slow

I have great touch, and play standard chip shots quite well, but I can't hit a soft pitch of any length to save my life.

Make Practice Swing

I have a beautiful practice swing, but it doesn't carry over to my real swing. Any Suggestions?

More Distance

I'm a good athlete, but don't get the distance I think I should. How can I hit the ball farther off the tee?

No Scoop Chips

I suffer from the chipping yips; I can't prevent my right hand from taking over and flipping under the ball. How do I avoid scooping the ball?

No Touch Short Game

I have no short game touch, and I'm a good athlete. Everything I hit feels like a jab or punch. Any help?

No Whiffing

Golf is frustrating to me because I hardly ever get the ball up in the air. Please help!

Range Brilliance

I'm a great range player, but can't get it together on the course. Do you have any advice to help me?

Sound Swing

An assistant pro refers to some swings as "sound," and others, "not sound." Can you compare and contrast the two?

Taking Lessons

I've taken golf lessons for years from many different instructors, but I never get better. Are golf lessons the biggest scam ever thought up?

Teacher a Good Player

Do you think it is important that a teaching professional be a good player?
Home  |  About  |  Features  |  Mountain Living  |  A & E  |  Recreation  |  Food  |  Directory  |  Resources |  Login  
Get More Putts to the Hole