This is when Dustin Johnson does (and doesn’t) use the line on his golf ball

The question of whether to use the line on the golf ball over putts remains a perplexing one to many golfers. Even pros remain divided on the issue. Talk to teachers, and they’ll give you a simple answer to the question: Do whatever makes you feel most comfortable and confident, because a comfortable, confident mindset is the one trait all the best putters share.

I’ve putted with both styles over my golf career. I’ve gone through stretches where I’ve used the line on my golf ball with every single putt, and I’ve gone through stretches where I’ve putted exclusively with no-line. I’ve since settled on a hybrid method that I first learned from Dustin Johnson that I love.

If you watched closely during his barnstorming second round at TPC Boston, where DJ was an astonishing 11-under through his first 11 holes, you could see the way DJ switched back and forth between using the line on his golf ball and eschewing it. It makes a lot of sense — at least it does to me — and it’s something worth trying yourself.

No line: Lag putts, bad putting days

On long putts like these, DJ usually opts for no line.

NBC

Golfers who don’t use a line often say it’s because it makes them feel uncomfortable. They line up, stand over the ball, and feel like they’re pointing in the wrong direction. It makes them feel awkward, which can lead to poor putts. That’s the case with DJ, too. That’s why he ditches the line on longer lag putts and days when he’s not putting well — both situations where he wants to simplify his thought process and rely mostly on his feel.

“On the days when I’m not putting good, all I’m worried about is whether I’ve got this thing lined up perfect.”

Uses line: Makable putts, simple putts

On makable putts like these, DJ uses a line.

PGA Tour Live

So, when does Dustin Johnson use the line on his golf ball? Basically, anytime he’s in the go-zone. On lag putts or big-breakers, DJ wants to prioritize his feel. But on putts that are short or relatively straight (or both) he’ll put the line to work. In situations like those, he cares less about feel and more about getting the line exactly right. Why? Because he knows if he aims correctly and starts the ball on the correct line, he’ll probably make the putt. And when he wants to guarantee he’s aiming exactly where he wants, out comes the line.

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Luke Kerr-Dineen

Golf.com Contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is the Director of Game Improvement Content at GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com. In his role he oversees all the brand’s service journalism spanning instruction, equipment, health and fitness, across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms.

An alumni of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he helped them to No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue his Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University and in 2017 was named News Media Alliance’s “Rising Star.” His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.