Avid hunters often prepare for the hunting season by firing rifles at targets, with the purpose of getting the scope and the aim dialed in.
The first shot may be right of center, the next just left. After a few attempts, the proper adjustments are made to the rifle and dinner soon will be served.
In golf, there is no scope to provide a magnified view of our intended line of fire. But just like the hunter sighting in a rifle, we need to sight in our putter - or, in golf terminology, align our putter.
This is not easy to do considering that, when putting, we stand sideways to the ball, with our eyes over the intended line. One eye is more dominant than the other, and the green is littered with imperfections.
For those reasons, a player should learn to aim the putter at our target and not rely on our ability to compensate during the stroke.
To this advice, most golfers would reply "easier said than done," but actually it is simple to aim your putter at the intended target time after time.
Here's how: Go to a hardware store and purchase two large nails, roughly 10 inches long, then find some pink or green string. The total cost of this world-class training aid is about $3.
Cut the string to a length of 25 feet and tie each end to one of the nails. Now you will have your own "laser scope" for putting.
To use this tool, just stick one nail in the ground three feet behind your ball, and place the other nail on your target line, either just past the hole or the point where the putt will break.
This should give you a tremendous visual image of your target line.
Place the golf ball directly under the line, splitting the ball down the center. Then place your putter behind the ball and under the line, with the sweet spot of the putter aligned with the string.
From this position, stroke the putt and make sure that the ball remains "split" down the center (by the string above) for at least 6 to 12 inches, no matter how much break you are playing.
You are now perfectly practicing positive putting, and good results will follow. All that is needed is a visit to the hardware store - and your imagination.
David Goolsby is director of the International Golf Academy at Jones Creek Golf Club. E-mail questions and comments to email@example.com.
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