Vertical Putter setup - Hitting the Equator

I usually start with the putter on the ground behind the ball, lift it every so slightly, then hit the ball. I’m sure the contact point is high on the putter face. Occasionally, I scuff the grass resulting in a putt that is woefully short. I’m trying to correct this problem with a proper setup.

I’ve seen this stacked “three quarters behind the ball” drill that reinforces a better alignment of the vertical center of the putter with the equator of the ball. Is striking the center of the putter something that others work on?


I would like to see this happen. if the putter head was lifted off the ground at address and you attempted to hit it high on the putter face?
Then you will have to bury the putter head into the ground to achieve this.
Maybe you meant hit the top half of the golf ball to produce an over spin for better roll?

Sure. A lot of putting is speed, and if your contact is all over the face, your speed is going to vary a lot.

It sounds like your low point is really varying if you’re drop-kicking putts, which isn’t a thing that should ever happen. I’d work (with a putting mirror or old compact disc) on getting a consistent, relaxed, natural eye position and posture supporting the same. Ideally over the ball, but consistent in any event. Then it’s just rocking your shoulders back and forth…

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Dry erase marker on back of ball. Make your strike. Although…now that I reread that: that works really well with irons and woods to ID strike location. But, they go up in the air afterwards. Putts roll. And it might be awkward if you’re leaving ink blotches on your practice green. (Though chalk lines seem to be A-OK these days…wtf?)

Might want to stick to the footspray on the face method of ID’ing strike, for putting.

I’ll give the dry erase a try.

There is no doubt that starting with the putter on the ground instead of lining up center of putter to the center of the ball, is a problem.

The only guy I ever heard that hovered the putter was Jack Nicholas.

Seems like I’m always adding to the list of “stuff to work on”.

Try out different methods to find out which one suit you better. Maybe you’ll do better with the hoovering the putter head behind the golf ball.
I had never heard that Nicklaus hoover his putter head behind the golf ball. I did hear that he lift the putter and then lay it gently down to get a feel of the weight. Also he is known for lining up his eyes behind the golf ball. It’ll give him a better view to line up the putt, although he has to be conscious of giving a little more effort of keeping the putter down the line a little longer.
If you are good at playing pool or billiard, the putting process is similar. Not a strike as the full swing, but to just start the golf ball rolling down the intended line.
You will eliminate the grounding of the putter behind the golf ball if you don’t shift weight back and forth, and not striking the golf ball but a push. Like you’re sweeping the floor with a broom.

The more you practice, the more putt you will sink, the more putt you sink, the more you will make. I used to go to the practice green after work to putt for 30-40 minutes before going home.

What started all this was reading that most amateurs use a putter that is too long for them. The average on the PGA tour is 33.5" which is shorter than what I have used in the past. I have a new shorter putter now. I also realized that I do not hit the vertical center of the putter head. So, that’s what I’m trying to improve on.

WRT Jack’s setup, I heard him say that, especially at the “Open Championship”, he never grounded the putter. If the wind moved the ball while he was standing over it, he was not assessed a penalty stroke because technically he was not in his putting stroke. That was always a stupid rule and has since been changed.


You are correct, for that one tournament owing to the rules which Jack tried not to ground the putter to the possibility of rules infraction.
He does not press the putter into the ground but the putter was grounded in all other cases.
I don’t remember any professional golfers intentionally lift the putter head off the ground when addressing the putt.
Perhaps in the cases of Sam Snead in his later years, and maybe Mo Norman.
If one is trying to hit a specific spot on the putter head. I would imagine by resting the putter head behind the golf ball to have the natural low point of the swing located would be the easiest way to repeat the move.
Hoovering the putter head just add another variable element to the formula. Watch all the video we could get from the professionals, rarely we would see someone hoovering the putter heads off the ground behind the address position.
Trust me, if there is one method better than the rest, the professional will discover it sooner than anyone of the amateurs and teaching professional alike.
What works is to find the way which will produce the most consistent result for your putting style. Then find the putter which suited the best for your game.
This is the reason why there are preferences for so many different putter design out there.
The recent trending for certain putter design is not so much of producing the consistent putting stroke but aiding the visual alignment to match the actual alignment. The professionals know how to use a putter, if anything, the alignment is the key for them.