Heads Up Putting

Was listening to the Hack It Out Podcast the other day and heard them describe heads up putting. I struggle with the ability to putt to a picture and think this could help me a lot. Does anybody have any experience with this?


I’ve been at it for just over a year now. My take always so far:

  1. My speed control is much better. Very few 3 putts.
  2. My short putts (4 feet or less) feel much more natural and my confidence is much better. I used to waaaay overthink them and worry about line and stroke.
  3. It took me a month or two 5-6 rounds to have it feel comfortable…especially on long putts.
  4. My 4-10 feet putts are about the same as before.

I use a spider like mallet…never think about my stroke…just focus on speed. Overall…it just feels so much more natural to me now. It’s also a good conversation starter when I’m paired up with strangers. :smile:

I may never go back. I tried armlock and messed with side saddle….this feels the best to me.


We had a discussion about it here Putting while looking at the hole
I’ve been using it for putts under 15 feet for most of the season.


I may have to give this a try again soon. My putting last year and early this year was good, but just horrible lately. Our greens are so slow this year due to all the rain. Also our rough is so thick that they felt the greens needed to be slower to make it playable. It’s odd because I came from a public course with slow greens and didn’t have too much trouble adjusting to the faster greens of a semi-private course, but now I can’t seem to switch back.


I’ve been off and on with heads-up this year, and I found it has really helped my distance control and helps minimize some y***ing tendencies that pop up occasionally. It takes all the mechanical thoughts out of it and just lets you react naturally, like rolling a ball.

If you just spend about 30 minutes trying it on the practice green, you’ll probably find it’s pretty easy to do, and no, you won’t miss the ball. I have occasionally had some mishits on longer putts, but have been better with that lately.

One other thing I’ll add, is that if you decide to try it, it’s OK to not do it all the time. Sometimes on a certain putt, it just doesn’t feel right and I’ll look at the ball.


Also listened to this podcast and committed fully to heads up putting… I had been toying with it, and had heard Sasho on the topic before. I’m now fully committed to it for at least the rest of the season.

I think it’s a REALLY helpful tool on the practice green. Especially if you are working on your putting stroke. Not looking at the ball and just letting the putter stroke go is a really good way of figuring out if you are doing what you are supposed to be doing. Or at least i think it is… maybe we can still make adjustments based on feel.

I’ve been doing it since the podcast came out and have had 3-4 rounds with it on actual greens. I’m definitely far more confident on it on the practice green than the putting green, but if I can move that to the real greens, i think it’s going to be a huge help for me… It will be interesting to see what I feel comfortable with next spring after a few months off of actual rounds.

My takeaways:

  1. I missed a couple of short, squeaky 4 footers early on… the ones where you have to start the ball outside the hole and commit to the stroke. Not sure if these will get better as I get more comfortable, but these are the puts that made me FEEL the most uncomfortable.
  2. Distance control is far better, assuming the strike and stroke are decent. Both strike and stroke have improved with time.
  3. Long putts are definitely a little more challenging not looking at the ball… I have a tendency to push them right… I’m committed to heads up, so I keep doing it… you could very easily work up to this level of comfort.

I’m pretty happy with the process overall. It felt weird to move it into actual play, and I’m still getting over that discomfort. To a certain extent, you just have to pull the trigger and commit to it (Even if it’s only on certain putts)… but it’s definitely an interesting concept.


As someone that plays almost exclusively on public courses (except for the occasional invite)…I found the last Sweet Spot podcast interesting when they were discussing how much “truer” the faster greens are when it comes to pure role. Can I use that as an excuse for my putting in forums like these?..Yep. :slight_smile:


I guess my excuse is that I got used to this course being a certain way lol. When I first joined this course it took me a while to get used to the speed, but mostly from the aspect of chipping and pitching the ball. I was still playing a league at the public course and started struggling with my short game there. A friend of mine seems to have no trouble going from one course to the other, but it’s been an issue for me. I have also been experimenting with different putters which probably hasn’t helped.


I’ve committed to heads up putting and my speed control has greatly improved leading to more tap-in second putts and the elimination of 3-putts.


Reporting back to this thread. Well, I tried out side-saddle putting after buying a long putter…I understand the physics and advantages, but just didn’t see a ton of success or feeling of confidence/comfort. I’ve gone back to my conventional putter with really good success for the last 2 months with a few changes in approach:

  1. Still only looking at the hole from about 5 feet and in.
  2. Putts longer than 5 feet (give or take depending on how I’m feeling over the putt), rather than looking at the hole, I’m looking at a spot 6-12 inches in front of the ball that I want to roll the putt over on my line.

Very few 3 putts (except on big greens that have puts well over 50 or so feet). Not perfect, but putting confidence seems to be back, and I love the confidence I seem to have over the 5 ft and in just looking at the hole.

I think my realization that face presentation is really all that matters in putting…and path is so minimal in effect on the putt has helped me the most.

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I know the practice green may or may not representing the golf course in general, but when you go to a seldom/never played golf course, try lagging those long putt on the practice green. It does not need to be aimed at a cup/flag. Lag the putt from 30’ to 40 ’ away. Sometimes this will mean from one end of the green to the other. Lag it like you would lag the Q ball on a pool table. This will give you a good idea of the speed and condition on the rest of this golf course.
As for looking at the cup while stroking the putt; It’s good if it works for you. By observing how the top golfers putt, many will see the motion of glancing back and forth from the golf ball to the cup then stroke on the intended line of putt.
The motion of the back and forth is to give a mental measure of the distance and the terrain to be covered. Eyes on the golf ball with the peripheral vision covering the intended line of the putt with a mental picture of the distance and the terrain to be covered.
Then, nothing left but practice.
If one developed the issue with putting ( Yips), it’ll be from either the nerve damage from all the vibration of hitting hundreds of thousands of golf balls or from vision issue brought on by aging. Both could be improved if seek professional help. There is a study of the Yips, and explains the condition in detail.

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