How this Masters champion’s simple tip instantly improved Ernie Els’ putting stroke

Ernie Els rode a hit putter to a win at the SAS Championship.

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Just like a great golf swing, a solid putting stroke has to be on a specific plane to perform to its highest potential. There are many misconceptions about the shape of the stroke, but most of the best putters in the world agree that the putter should work on more of an arc than a straight-back-and-through stroke.

However, when stroking the ball on an arc, it can be easy to get out of sync. Sucking the putter too far inside is an easy mistake to make and can throw your entire sequence out of sorts. That’s exactly what happened recently to Hall of Famer Ernie Els. He was taking the putter too far inside which made him “loop” the club as he progressed back to impact. The result was an inconsistent stroke that couldn’t be relied upon.

Luckily for Els, Mark O’Meara was there to save the day. In a recent tweet from Golf Channel’s GolfPass, O’Meara explained the tip he gave Els to fix his stroke and allow him to win the SAS Championship.

“What I noticed about his stroke is it was way too much to the inside,” O’Meara said. “His backstroke was going back inside, and then he wasn’t quite hitting the putts that solid.”

O’Meara’s tip was simple: take the putter straighter on the way back. Els took the advice and instantly started hitting better putts.

“The key to putting is making sure your hands aren’t behind the ball,” O’Meara said. “If you take the putter back way too much to the inside, then you kind of have to loop it to get it back on track … I asked Ernie to just feel like he was taking it a little straighter back. As soon as he did that, he started rolling it better and making better putts.”

Sometimes all it takes is another pair of eyes to diagnose the shortcomings in your game, so don’t be afraid to ask for help if you find yourself struggling.

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Zephyr Melton Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf.