Why Every Passionate Golfer Should Own a Putting Mirror - 4 Key Factors that Determine Successful Putts
by Freddy Braun
Roughly 43 % of all golf shots are putts according to the SAMPuttLab website golfscienceandmotion.com. This means that the putter holds the most theoretical potential for improvement. To turn this theoretical potential into an actual and real strength on the course, we need to practice putting systematically. Before we get into how to do this, let's take a quick look at what makes a putt drop into the hole and break putting down into its most key parts. In order to hole a putt, we need to:
- Read the green correctly
- Have the right speed
- Be properly aligned and...
- Make a good stroke so that our clubface can be square at impact, which unlike with long shots, determines where our ball is going to go for the most part
If we take a closer look at those 4 key factors, we realize that 2 out of those 4 factors are variables. Green speed varies from golf course to golf course and even if we always play the same course, we'll notice that the speed of the greens is never the exact same. Since the speed of the greens varies, we constantly need to adjust how we read them. We play less break on slow greens since we need to hit the ball harder in order for it to get to the hole. The faster a ball rolls, the less of an impact the break has on it.
- Slow greens = less break
- Fast greens = more break
What kind of greens we are going to putt on is mostly in the hands of the weather and the greenkeeper and therefore not within our control. Focusing on things outside of our own control can lead to an emotional rollercoaster, which is something we want to avoid. We like to focus on things that are within our control.
Being properly aligned and making a good stroke so that our clubface can be square at impact (factors 3 and 4) is 100% within our control. Here's the beauty of it: even though green speed changes, knowing that we have a solid foundation and strong fundamentals will help us adjust and adapt to new situations quickly. This is where a putting mirror comes into play.
Being properly aligned is key to getting the ball into the hole with as few shots as possible. Also, not being properly aligned can lead to a flawed stroke because you try to compensate for the improper alignment.
A putting mirror is one training aid that helps you develop a feeling for the proper alignment on the putting green.
Take a look at the black line in the middle of the mirror. This line allows you to aim the mirror right at your target/hole. No more guessing during practice. Furthermore, you don't compensate for a bad alignment with your stroke and therefore avoid costly mistakes down the road.
Making a good stroke
Biomechanic Rob Dr. Rob Neal has found that our stroke only contributes 18% towards the success of our putts. 82% are due to the clubface being square at impact (Source). In other words: where your clubface points during impact is where your ball is going to go.
This is good to know because since we are already aiming correctly due to step 1, we know that if the ball misses the hole it is due to our clubface being either open or closed at impact. That way, our bodies are able to make subconscious adjustments.
While you can obviously use the putting mirror to practice break putts by aiming the mirror outside the hole (check the break a few times and read it carefully), we highly suggest starting with straight putts. That way, you can be certain that a missed putt can be traced back to your clubface at impact.
However, your stroke is not completely useless as it helps you to be square at impact. The red lines you see on the mirror help you with your stroke and guide you through those crucial few inches before the putter hits the ball.
The myth about your eyes
You are going to see yourself when practicing with a putting mirror. This sounds obvious and is the reason so many players use the mirror to check their eyes. While coaches used to argue that your eyes need to be over the ball when putting, new research and experiences have shown that consistency is the key.
Take a look at the Snapchat picture on the left that Rickie Fowler took during practice.
Note that the caption does not read "eyes over the ball is key", but "consistent head and eye position is key". Consitency does the trick. Don't worry if your eyes are not exactly over the ball when practicing with a putting mirror. As long as they are consistently in the same position, you are on your way to success.
Recap - why every passionate golfer should own a putting mirror
- 43 % of all golf shots are putts, which is why the putter holds huge potential for improvement
- Consistency is the key to successful putting
- To be consistent you need to have strong fundamentals - fundamentals you have full control over such as your stroke, your clubface at impact, the position of your eyes and your alignment
- A putting mirror can help you with all of these key factors
End the frustration of missing putts and get your own BelowPar Putting mirror by clicking the button below:
We are Patrick and Freddy - two scratch golfers playing in Germany's Major Golf League. We want to help you shave 10 shots off your average score not just by manufacturing high quality training aids but by also passing along the knowledge we have gained after 12 years of playing competitive golf at the national and international level.
For more information about us and our free short game practice plan, click here.