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Putting is a fickle skill. Some days it feels like the hole is the size of the ocean. Other days it looks more like a shot glass.
Why is it that putting can be so easy some days and so maddeningly difficult on others? Well, it all starts with consistency. And not just consistency in your stroke, but also consistency in your setup.
Your eyes can play funny tricks on you if your setup isn’t right. When standing over the ball, it can look like your aim is off when it’s really not. Conversely, it can seem as though you have perfect aim at times when you’re lined up outside the hole.
The reason for this is eye alignment. The perception of your aim can vary wildly based on where your eyes are aligned when standing over the ball. If your head is too far over the ball, it will look like you’re aimed well to the left. If you’re not enough over the ball, it will look like you’re aimed to the right. This is why eye alignment is key.
Short Game Gains co-founder Frederik Linblom demonstrates this in the video above. As he tweaks the subject’s eye alignment, it affects where it appears he is aiming.
The thing is, proper eye alignment varies for every person. Some might feel aimed down their intended line more over the ball, while others are more comfortable on the other end of the spectrum. This can make figuring out your most comfortable alignment difficult, but luckily, Short Game Gains has a device that can help.
Enter the putting mirror. This is a device you’ve likely seen many pros use before, and it helps ensure you are getting into the proper setup each and every time.
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All you need to do to use it is set up with a ball at the end of the mirror and choose your intended line. Next, you can move your head position until you find the spot where it looks most like you are aiming down your preferred line. This is the proper eye alignment for your stroke, and the one that will yield the most consistent results.
“Every time you practice, you should start with a mirror and make sure you set up exactly to that spot,” Lindblom says.
If you can consistently nail your eye alignment, you’ll put yourself in the best position to hole more putts and lower your score.
Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF.com, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf.
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