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Putting alignment issue: Always end up aiming left

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I have had a problem with my putting alignment issue since I was a youth golfer, and I have been aware of it for a long time, and always have to fight against it. I have the tendency to aim to the left and then push it to the right to get the ball back on track with what "feels" accurate.

I have recently been trying a little bit more of an open stance, more slouched, head behind ball kind of like Jack Nicklaus did, and that seems to have me aligned better. But not sure if this is the style that fits for me. Still experimenting, guess its winter so the time of year to do that.

My question for any putting experts on here would be is this an issue with my my eyes and just the way I register proper alignment in my mind, or is it a problem with how I am lining up with my body? When I use alignment line or string in practice and get properly aligned, it feels like I am aiming way right, and I can never get it to stick or feel comfortable at all when on the course. I never know exactly how far right I have to feel to be properly aligned without an aid.


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An eye opening tip from my coach (and other coaches as well): Align yourself (your putter!) properly to a hole about 10' away and stand parallel to it as a starting point. You can use a string or a la

I respectfully disagree. Nobody has eye sight issues 1-2" from the ball to target. And that's how far your target should be from the ball. If it doesn't look like it's lined up straight at 1-2", yo

Sure. I'm sure there are some with vision issues that would be an exception. But I have astigmatism and I have no issues. @Obee said it better than I did. I'm just encouraging others to be open minded

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Look up parallax error and read about it carefully. There is a good chance that you are dealing with that, and, if so, you'll need some sort of method of compensation. Dave Stockton's idea about rolling the ball over a spot just an inch or two in front of the ball is one good one, but whatever you do, you'll have to learn to trust it.

I'd be curious to know if you've tried a line of the ball, and if so, what your results were. LOTS of people with your "issue" can't use the line because they find that at address, the line looks both tilted toward them and aimed left, even though they KNOW that they lined it up correctly from behind the ball. If you've tried the line and got that result, then I can almost guarantee that you are dealing with a vision issue rather than an alignment issue, and that you'll have to figure out a work-around for what your eyes are telling you.

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An eye opening tip from my coach (and other coaches as well):

Align yourself (your putter!) properly to a hole about 10' away and stand parallel to it as a starting point. You can use a string or a laser to create a line from your ball to the hole. Most likely your perception is somehow scewed, e.g. you think you aim left or right of the hole - you already experienced this as you described.

Now try the following modifications to your stance and observe how your perception changes:

Open and close your stance (like you did).Turn your left food outwards (pointing more to the hole) and inwards (away from the hole).With your feet move closer to the ball and move away from the ball - step back and forth.Turn your head - move your left ear towards your left shoulder and vice versa.Use this information to create the posture where your perception and actual direction of the hole match up so you can put without hesitation.



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This sounds like the same issue that I have struggled with forever. What I have found over the years is that I am left eye dominant, and play right handed.

I think when the lead eye takes over it creates havoc with putter alignment.

One thing that has helped is closing the lead eye while taking stance and aligning the putter, and even practicing the stroke with this eye closed.

Once both eyes are open, you have to trust your alignment, or you'll start to over compensate and start pulling puts.

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Malaska has a great video on this with BeBetterGolf.....I highly suggest watching it....I have had the opposite problem and always aimed right...the video helped me quite a bit.

Driver: Callaway Epic 9* w/ Graphite Design Tour AD M9003
FWY: Taylormade Rocketballz Tp 14.5*
Hybrid: Adams Idea Pro 18*
Irons: Srixon Z765 3-5 iron, z965 6-PW, Project X
54*: Titleist SM6 S grind black finish
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I had the same problem, but I aimed way right. Started using a line on the ball, have for ten years or more, and my putting has been much, much better.. The hard part of using a line is to learn to trust the line, and forget your lying eyes. One of the benefits of using a line is that you can tell by watching the line whether you've made a bad stroke or a bad read.

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Thanks for all the input. This is helpful. Several people mentioned a line on the ball, and I have experimented with that several times before and I just cannot get used to it. Not for me. Going to need to find another work around. I also used to use a two-ball putter back in the day when those first became popular. That helped with alignment quite a bit. May be time to experiment with a mallet putter again.

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Just my two cents. Sometimes, at least for me, understanding the why, helps me improve.

Your question of "why left looks straight". Your eyes / brain / perception of straight is going to be result based somewhat.

Take your "weekend buddy" that aims his driver 30 yards to the right, out of bounds. You tell your buddy "hey your aimed out of bounds". Your buddy goes "no way". And then you do the whole alignment thing and he sees his feet lined up way right. So you get him all straight. Then boom, he hits way left or way right from the intended target. Next hole, he aims 30 yards right again. Hits it down the middle and ignores your advice the rest of the round.

My point with the "weekend buddy". He aims 30 yards right of his target, because that's his straight. His swing flaws, cause him to usually hit it left (whether or pull / closed face). So he's adjusted by aligning his body to the right. He's eyes / perception / brain have adjusted to how he needs to align himself to hit it towards his intended target. That's his straight, because the result to him is straight. He is not intentionally really aiming 30 yards right, but that to him, is his straight and how he hits where he is intending. When you get him to aim straight, it feels like he's aimed a mile to the left and the results are going to be bad as well, because his swing is the same and is not going to produce the desired results.

Back to you.

My assumption is you have a poor grip or a poor stroke or a combination of both. Sorry if that is blunt. Not trying to make you feel bad. Just want you to understand how it all ties together.

Again I'm assuming. But given what you said. You most likely have a closed "face" at impact. So when you line up straight and try to putt straight, the results are left. You compensated this by "pushing it to the right". Since you are "pushing it with your arms / shoulders / hands" it feels like it's going to go right. So you compensate again, with your body to align it to the left. The real kicker, by opening your stance, you are actually making it worse. But everything you do, is result compensated. And more we do that, the more manipulation is required and harder it becomes to be consistent. Your current putting stroke is a bunch of opposed forces. Feet / Body aligned left of target, path of putter / swing right of target.

You can get aligned straight. But you probably won't hit your intended target still. Because your stroke or grip or both need to be corrected.

Bottom line - you either manipulate your posture / stance to fit your stroke. This usually results in hot and cold putting. Really good days and bad days. And since we are result based, the bad days usually result in more manipulating to make it go straight again.

Or your have good straight alignment and learn how to stroke it straight from there. This usually results in more consistent good putting, since there is less manipulating and eliminates guessing of how to get it straight again.

Open Stance - I'm not opposed to this at all. It does help to close the arc. But I do caution players - to only use an open stance if you truly understand what it is doing with your stroke. There is no reason why you can't putt it straight with a non-open stance. However - you might find it easier or more consistent to roll it straight with a slightly open stance. The type of arc will really decide if opening the stance is helpful or necessary.

I'm just hoping that you don't spend all this time on perfect alignment and abandon it because you don't get the desired results. Just remember that alignment is not the end-all. You still have to stroke it correctly along that alignment.

Also, yes after some time (and certainly not 1,000+ times) straight will look / feel straight.

And suggestions to use the line on the ball - I agree with this. And for people struggling to use the line on the ball. Make the line thicker! For some reason, that seems to help when people don't like or trust the line. Make it thicker, as thick as you need it to be. It still does the same thing.

Good luck!




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Guys that can use the line just cannot understand why it doesn't work for everybody, but it doesn't; I was told by one top shelf putting instructor that 60% CANNOT use the line, and only 40% can. For those of us that can't, we really can't; no way to convey how distracting and counterproductive it is to line up the ball from behind, then stand over the putt and "see" the line tilted toward you and to the left of what you perceive to be the target line.

Obviously, the problem is a vision problem, not a problem with the line itself, but the outcome is the same; it just doesn't help you putt well! And believe me, I tried; I figured that I'd get used to it, and that knowing to a certainty that the line was correctly aimed would eventually overcome the perception of how the line looked at address, but it just didn't happen. Drove me crazy, but I just couldn't make it work.

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I respectfully disagree. Nobody has eye sight issues 1-2" from the ball to target. And that's how far your target should be from the ball. If it doesn't look like it's lined up straight at 1-2", you can guarantee you have something going on with your posture / setup that makes you perceive it that way.

I'll admit that the line can cause some mental blocks for people. But perception issues, no. I've seen it enough times with people claiming the same thing and they just aren't setup in a way that it's accurate. My father being one of them.

And not once after correcting someone's setup, have they said the line isn't matching up. Maybe I just haven't ran across one of these 60% of vision issued people before. Or maybe the 60% don't have their eyes in the right place. Again I understand your point of view. And maybe you do have something unique with your vision. But I think you might want to consider, that maybe, just maybe, when you tried it, you were missing some of the other pieces required to make it work right.

Using a marker on the ball to align your clubface to the target, just eliminates one thing you have to focus on. In other works, it makes it more simple. That's why it's so widely used. It makes no difference to me, what you do. But I would hope that you don't discourage others from giving it a real fair try. Again, you can't just put the line up and expect it to work. You need to have proper setup / posture, then it works.



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Thank you for that input. There are so very true and some not so true pieces as far as applying to me. I would like to think I have a pretty good grip and stroke. I've worked with instructors in the past, I'm a scratch player, played in college, etc. When working with alignment aids I can put everything on line like I'm supposed to, but what I am trying to say in my posts is how hard it is for me to get that alignment practice to carry over. The less I practice the more and more I start to aim left and push it. Doesn't take long on the alignment practice line or chalk to get rid of the push. Struggle with the line on the ball, tried it many times.

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I struggle with this problem as a lefty who is left eye dominant that plays right handed. Never have been able to figure it out, so I use a method when reading my putts from behind where I visualize the path from the hole back to a spot a couple of inches in front of my mark(think shot tracer line) and I align the alignment mark on the ball to that spot, and then from there its just a matter of trusting my read even though my eyes are telling me something different. The last thing I do before taking the putter back is looking at that spot I am aligned to and I just try to roll it over that spot and trust that my read before taking my stance is right.

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LOL, I posted a similar topic years ago. I can’t even get the line on the ball correct to start with. I did buy an Edel putter and many others, currently odyssey marxman. I consistently aim left and it just gets worse as I move back from gimme distance. Of course it looks aligned to me but when I have a putting lesson or playing partner line me up, I feel lined up as far right as I really am misaligned left. I work on just aiming right of what I think and getting distance correct. I played Quintero in Az today, greens were faster and more undulating than my club back home, of course didn’t want to go to time or trouble to be lined up ( numerous 3 putts ). For the first time I thought a stand up putter would save time and trouble.


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Thank you for believing that I have enough influence over anybody to discourage them from using a line on their golf ball! But not to worry; not only do I not have that kind of influence, I don't believe that you shouldn't use the line anyway. You are replying to a post of mine where I said that the line works for a lot of golfers; it just doesn't work for everybody.

Actually, if you read one of my earlier posts on this thread, I suggested to the OP the Stockton technique of focusing on a spot 1-2" in front of the ball to start the putt out, whether you are using a line on the ball or not.

I'm glad the line works for you, and I know a LOT of other golfers who use it as well. Again, if you read my post carefully and with an open mind, I said that. I think you are the one telling other people what they should and shouldn't do, and what does and doesn't work; all I was trying to do was explain what I had been told, and experienced myself, about why the line doesn't work for a lot of golfers. The 60% estimate wasn't mine; that came from Juan Elizondo, who has worked with Webb Simpson and Vijay Singh, among many others; he was explaining to me why the line had not worked for me, despite a LOT of time and work put into trying to use it.

If I'm reading your post correctly, You are saying that anybody who can't use the line is doing something incorrectly, and that just isn't the case. Jon Rahm, who is currently #6 on Tour in Strokes Gained Putting, said this: "Honestly any time I have lines, to me, it looks like it’s aiming left,”; that was in a Golf Magazine article from last month in which DJ, Rory, Matt Wolff, and Rahm give their views on using the line. Of those four, only Wolff uses the line, though with DJ and Rory, they said their reasons for not using the line had to do with losing their feel for the speed of the putt.

FWIW, II think the three lines on the Callaway balls probably are there to help with this very problem, but I don't know that. I've also seen players that use a second line perpendicular to the alignment line to line up the putter face squarely; that seems to help them overcome the issue of feeling like the line is tilted and aimed left. But parallax error is a real thing that varies randomly from person to person, so it isn't the least bit surprising that some people, like yourself, seem relatively unaffected by it, while others (like me!) are affected by it quite a bit, with the line being one example.

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@FusedSpineScratch - I believe that using a line or mark on the ball helps me get my straight alignment without the sticks / aids. I get to setup a target line with my ball to the target legally. After I set that line to my target, I don't have to try and figure out when my face is square to the target. I get to align myself to that line on the ball. That is part of the process for me of getting lined up straight without the aids. I understand that may not work for everyone. But that's the idea. Does it look left when I'm 30 feet out? Absolutely. But it doesn't like left when I'm looking at the line and 1-6" in front of it. With that being said, I still feel like I can putt well without a line. It's not necessary to be a good putter, but can certainly help some of us to simplify things. And sorry for misunderstanding your post. It sounded like you struggled to putt straight even aligned straight. I will say I do know exactly what you are talking about. It was a struggle for me as well for years. I finally improved after figuring out that there are, little tricks when setting yourself up to having a better chance to align straight.
@bluedot - I'd never tell anyone what to do. Makes no difference what everyone else is doing. Just trying to help. Sorry if it came across aggressively. I don't get to practice as much as PGA tour players. So to me, having another tool to help get aligned along my target path, well I prefer to use it. But so many ways to play this game. And so much variety in putting especially. Just trying to help others find ways to be better players.
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Great video, Malaska understands the vision issue and offered several tips. For those of us that just can’t see the line (even with lessons and practice) we keep unconsciously making compensateing maneuvers to square the putter. There was one tip I had not heard or tried before, of course I will keep trying any new information. I would love to just worry about the stroke and have confidence in my alignment.

Thanks ferrispgm!

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I use a penny between the ball/hole and just try to see the penny right between the two and roll the ball over the penny. I do this from about 10 feet and put the penny halfway between. I also use a chalk line and try to get it so the ball/chalk line/hole are all on the same line. Just thought i'd throw a few other ideas out there.

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Irons: Srixon Z765 3-5 iron, z965 6-PW, Project X
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I am going to make some assumptions.

Right eye dominant.

Ball forward in the stance.

Address the ball from an open body line, then try to sqaure up from that position.

Possible solution if I am correct.

Use a Narrow Stance or address the ball with your feet together. This will move the ball closer to the right eye without having to play the ball on the wrong side of your arc.

Once you are set do not change your set up if you feel off. Just hit the ball where the putter is pointed.

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I am also going to respectfully disagree with you, bud.

I was one of those guys who would have told you that "I cannot use the line. Impossible. You just don't GET IT." LOL

Then I got sick and tired of being a bad putter from 2.5 to 4 feet and read about getting used to the line and re-training the way my eyes see the line.

BUT, as someone else mentioned, I ALSO had to completely change the way I set up to the ball, from an OPEN to a CLOSED stance. That was literally all I had to do. Once I did that, the difference in the way my "eye/mind" saw the line relative to the hole changed relatively quickly. Took me about two full rounds to adapt.

Most people who "can't use the line" have never tried drastic changes in their set-up/eye-position, etc., so I would agree with that 60%/40% split that your putting instructor mentioned -- but only for people who more-or-less stick with their current set-up.

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When lining up properly, a lot has to do with eyesight. Everyone has a different perception of how things look because of their dominant and passive eyes. I have struggle a lot with shorter putts because my eyesight is not properly lining up the putts correctly. Over the years, I haven't seen much instructional on how your eyes play tricks on you and how to properly see the line and setup to the line. The closest thing I have seen is just last night on an episode of Swing Expedition with Chris Como on the Golf Channel. Como had Xander Schauffele and his putting coach Derek Uyeda. It is a good watch and has a few tips on how control your eyes to line up properly.

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Man I thought I was the only one. I do go through stretches sometimes where it goes away and I hole a lot of putts but then it comes back. No matter how far right I am aimed when I stand over the putt it looks left. It's so hard to trust your line and also get your body to put a square stroke on it because subconsciously it wants to open.

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Here is what I learned about my personal experiences and what might work for you

I am severely left eye dominant. (you need to learn which eye applies to yourself)

For me, a narrow left foot back and open stance - with a right hand push - and the ball well forward works THE BEST.

I also know flow neck putters are best for me

So I suggest getting one of those clip on putter lasers and try different

HEAD shapes (anser, mallet, etc)alignment aid styles … none, dot, line, multiple lines etcNECK styles (center shafted, plumber's neck, flow neck etc) to see what gets you aimed straight (Slazenger used to have this system in Myrtle Beach IIRC)Diff sized gripsDiff grip styles (the pencil or claw was my salvation as well)Head weight. For me I like heavy. My Scotty x7m, Ping Sigma2 Tyne 4 and Piretti Matera Elite are all very heavy. I think weight is a stroke factor as well … YMMVNow I got lucky in the last few years where a local guy named Liam Mucklow clarified why my system/preferences works for me and my eye issue, and then also having Scotty Cameron himself watch me hit putts and tell me what style of neck and head shape works for my strong arc old school stroke. So I got that going for me

I also got a HIGH TECH putter fitting at TaylorMade head office here in Canada last Fall. Flow neck mallet with face opened, loft strengthened, heavy weights dropped in, lie flattened …. and I COULD NOT MISS FROM 12 feet




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