Louis Oosthuizen putting basics…

There are some basic principles that are well worth considering before you approach the game on the greens. Here, I’ll tell you about the set-up and stroke essentials that will give you the best possible chance of success. I’ll also offer some key thoughts on successful green reading to ensure that you pick up on all the crucial clues that will help you hit your target every time.

If you have been struggling on the greens you have probably lost the tempo and flow of your stroke. When this happens, I hit some one-handed putts. By having just my right hand on the grip, I can release the putter better. I stop guiding the blade through the stroke and rediscover the flow. Notice how the butt of the shaft should always be pointing to your midriff. This is an important element of the game on the greens as it helps with the rhythm and direction of the stroke.

Essential technique

The way you stand to the ball has a huge impact on your success rate on the greens. I have an alignment stick that I lay down on the green very regularly in practice. Quite simply this helps me check if the face of my putter is square to the target through impact. It is amazing how easy it is to let the important precision of this position slip, and laying down a simple alignment stick is incredibly effective. As you hit ball after ball this clearly visual aid will help you with alignment both at address and through impact. Whenever you find some time to spend on the practice green adopt this simple approach – without having to think too carefully about the mechanics of your stroke you will train a much more consistent move.

Read Rory McIlroy’s putting drills

Reading greens

For me, when it comes to reading greens successfully it always makes sense to look at tricky putts from a different angle, preferably from the side. Just by walking 10 paces away and looking at the putt from a new perspective you get a better feel for the shape of the green. That really helps. Sometimes you need to walk away and by doing this you might be able to pick up on a crucial element that you miss when looking directly down the line.

Read more top putting tips

Reading grain

Grain comes into play more than you might think and for us, it is something we always need to be on the look out for. The good news is that you can usually see it quite clearly from a distance. The simple rule is that when the grass on your line looks shiny, it is down grain and will run slightly faster. If the grass between your ball and the hole looks darker, you’ll be putting into the grain so allow for a slightly slower roll. Keep this in mind, especially if you are playing a golf course that you are unfamiliar with.