Viktor Hovland filled up the cup in Mexico to the tune of 28 birdies. Twenty-eight birdies. There’s a chance you won’t make that many circles on the card during an entire season, which can be deflating for the average stick. Then again, we’re talking about one of the best golfers in the world.
Coming off a week where he buried literally every putt in sight, it’s natural to wonder if there’s anything the recreational player can glean from the performance. Maybe a few more birdies are right around the corner with a simple tweak.
For Hovland, one of the keys to his impressive putting performance appears to be a simple addition to the golf ball that’s already a staple for some players: he adds a single permanent marker line to the side stamp on his 2021 Titleist Pro V1.
“I cannot putt without this — literally cannot aim,” Hovland said of the line in a recent Titleist Instagram video. “I try to get it as square as I can, fill up the whole area.”
Stating that he “cannot putt” without a line might sound like an exaggeration, but it’s important to understand that even the simplest alignment aid can make a huge difference. In Hovland’s case, the black line is used to zero in on his target. When used with the two lines on his Ping PLD putter, it makes for a deadly combination on the greens.
Marking the line freehand takes some practice, so if you want to add a consistent line, consider picking up a simple tracing tool like the one Hovland uses to mark his ball for less than $10.
A built-in alignment aid — think Callaway’s Triple Track technology — is also a good alternative if marking the ball isn’t your thing.
Something else that’s interesting about the way Hovland marks his ball? Aside from the line, he doesn’t add another mark to the cover. No dots, circles, lines. Nothing.
“I usually just leave it at that,” he said. “I see a lot of guys putting circles or random stuff on there. I feel like if I have a black line on there, that’s unique enough. I just keep it simple.”
Simple certainly works.
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