You've probably heard a lot about the importance of visualizing a shot before playing it: Imagining how it will feel coming off the club and how it will look flying to the target. "Seeing" the shot is an important part of the preshot routine of most skilled players.
Visualization shouldn't stop when you reach the green. Being able to "see" the line the ball will take is sure to help you. If every putt were straight, picturing the line wouldn't be hard (for that matter, neither would putting), but as you know, it's a rare putt that doesn't have some break to it. If you're having trouble seeing the line, this lesson is for you.
Sharpen Your Focus
Practice forming a good mental picture by working with a physical picture first. Get to the practice green while it's still covered with dew. Find a place where the dew is untouched and stroke a 15 footer. Leave the path the first ball cuts untouched and place another ball at its head. Stand behind this ball as if reading a putt and concentrate on the line, then step up to the ball, glance at the line one more time and stroke the ball. Repeat this twice more, then move five feet closer to the cup and go through the same procedure with three more putts on the same line. Move five feet closer and hit three five footers, all the time ingraining the image of the line in your mind.
Eyes over the Line
You'll have a better chance of seeing a line if your eyes are directly over it. To find out if yours are positioned properly, address a putt, then without moving your feet, place two balls next to the original -- one directly in front, the other in back. Without your putter, assume your address again and bring a ball up so it touches the bridge of your nose (between your eyes). Let it drop straight down. If it hits any of the three balls, your eyes are over the line. If not, adjust yourself until you can pass this test.
Down the Line Drill
Private Lessons 1999 Times Mirror Magazines, Inc., used under license by GolfServ Online, Inc. Instructional information provided by Golf Magazine.