Where Should You Position The Ball When You’re Putting?
Written by Mike Noblin

Mike has been involved with sports for over 30 years. He's been an avid golfer for more than 10 years and is obsessed with watching the Golf Channel and taking notes on a daily basis. He also holds a degree in Sports Psychology.

Updated on December 13, 2023

Did you know that putting is the most important part of the game of golf?

Think about it. Most strokes are spent on the putting green than anywhere else on the golf course.

Putting form is an important part of the putting equation. How you position your body to the ball can lead to more efficiency and consistency. Here are a few tips for finding the proper ball position during putting.


Where to Position The Ball When Putting

There are several schools of thought when it comes to finding the ideal place to position the golf ball when putting. Some PGA professionals teach their proteges to always place the ball in the middle of the putting stance. They argue that for maximum putting accuracy, you need to make contact with the golf ball at the bottom arc of your putting stroke.

The other common place of alignment during putting is a little bit forward of the center of your stance. Some teachers claim that catching the ball on the upstroke of the swing path will result in a higher amount of precision and consistency.

Not a lot of golfers believe in placing the golf ball behind the middle of the stance while putting. Choosing to place the ball in this position means that you’ll make contact with the ball before your swing has bottomed out. This will usually result in a descending blow and the wrong amount of ball speed.


What Happens if You Stand Too Far Away From The Golf Ball

One of the fundamentals of putting is to make sure you are standing the proper distance away from the golf ball. For most golfers, it is best to position the golf ball right under your eyes. An easy way to do this is to use your putter’s shaft as a measuring tool.

Standing too far away from the golf ball will often cause you to use an in-to-out swing path. This almost always results in putts that are pushed out to the right of the hole.

Standing too close to the golf ball also causes inaccurate putts. When a golfer stands too close to the ball, it can cause lots of misses to the left of the hole. This is because this type of stance promotes an out-to-in swing path.


When to Change You’re Ball Position in Your Putting Stance

Most amateurs prefer to keep the position of the ball the same in their putting stance regardless of the situation. There is nothing wrong with this line of thinking because it keeps things simple on the greens. 

However, some golfers like to change their ball position based on a variety of factors. During the following circumstances, a golfer may want to experiment with a different ball position. 

No matter what ball position you choose, remember to always spread your feet out until they are shoulder-width apart. You can change a lot of variables in your putting stroke, but the width of your stance shouldn’t be one of them.

Close to Hole vs. Further Away

Lots of golfers like to change their ball position based on the length of the putt. For short putts, they’ll elect to play the ball a little forward of center. 

A lot of folks feel that this strategy keeps them from hitting the ball too hard on short putts. There is nothing more annoying than blasting your ball past the hole on a short five-foot putt! Since this ball placement causes contact on the upstroke, there should be a little less ball speed.

To that same point, some golfers prefer to play the ball from the center of their stance when faced with longer putts. This helps make sure they strike the ball at the low point of their swing plane. This should result in more ball speed than playing the ball a little past the center of the stance.

Incline vs. Decline

Another common situation that may warrant a change in ball position is whether the putt is uphill or downhill. Uphill putts call for an aggressive stroke. After all, when facing an incline you have to make sure that you use enough ball speed to get the ball to the hole.

When looking at an uphill putt, opt to play the ball in the center of your stance. This will ensure that you get enough oomph on the putt.

Downhill putts are an entirely different animal. These types of putts with a severe decline slope are incredibly difficult, even for golfers on the PGA Tour.

The best ball position to choose for downhill putts is one that is slightly past the center of your stance. You may even want to go an inch or two more toward your front foot for these types of putts. This will help you strike the golf ball with just enough tempo.

The goal with downhill putts is to not smack the ball way past the hole. Try your best to avoid a three-putt at all costs because nothing will wreck a scorecard faster.


A Couple of Putting Tips To Help You Improve on the Greens

1. Pay Attention to Your Grip Pressure

All golfers have to experiment to find the right amount of grip pressure. You never want to choke the putter by gripping it too tightly. This will cause you to have a jabbing type of putting stroke that is wild and inaccurate.

On the other hand, you don’t want to grip the putter too loosely either. Grip the shaft tight enough so that you feel in control of your swing. On a grip pressure scale of 1 to 10, you want to be at about a 4 with both the right hand and the left hand.

2. Practice a Pendulum Stroke When Putting

To make sure you are using the correct amount of tempo while putting, keep your knees bent while practicing a pendulum stroke. To do this, focus on taking the putter’s face straight back during the backswing and straight through on the downswing.

The pendulum stroke will help you keep most of your putts on your target line. When this happens, you’ll start making more birdie putts! 


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Mike Noblin

Mike has been involved with sports for over 30 years. He's been an avid golfer for more than 10 years and is obsessed with watching the Golf Channel and taking notes on a daily basis. He also holds a degree in Sports Psychology.