A simple putting routine to help you play faster and make more putts

justin leonard putts

Leonard's routine will help you read more break in your putts.


Yesterday, I wrote about a mistake that 96 percent of golfers do: They don’t read enough break on their putts. A majority of those golfers actually need to double the amount of break they play on their putts — and even then probably wouldn’t be reading enough break.

It’s actually quite impressive, when you think about it. You’d be hard-pressed to find anything else that almost every single golfer around does, but not playing enough break is one of them. But we’re not about problems here at GOLF.com, we’re about finding solutions. Which is what sent me down a rabbit hole the other day and came back with a couple of throwback clips from Justin Leonard, who boasts one of my favorite putting actions of all time.

He also, in a this old “Playing Lessons from the Pros” clip on Golf Channel, has some handy advice that solves the problem of under-reading putts, and helps you play faster, too.

It all comes down to his putting routine, which Leonard calls “a little different.”

1. Quickly read the putt

First, Leonard says he takes a quick read of the putt. He doesn’t spend too much time on this part, he says; he’s merely trying to get an idea of which direction it’s going to move.

2. Feel it with your feet

In some ways the most important part of Leonard’s green-reading come when he stands up to the ball. He makes a few practice strokes, looking at the hole, adjusting to what he sees with his eyes and feels with his feet.

“I’ll see what the line is doing, and try to feel in my feet what the ground is doing by my ball,” he says.

3. Reset and go

Once he does that, he backs away from the putt, picks a spot higher than he was initially aiming, walks straight into the putt and rolls it without any practice strokes. It’s his way of helping up read more break into his putts than he was initially comfortable with, and to commit without any second thoughts.

“I’ll come back and reset, and I’ve moved my spot [that I’m aiming at] probably another inch or two higher,” he says.

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Luke Kerr-Dineen

Golf.com Contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is the Game Improvement Editor at GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com. In his role he oversees the brand’s game improvement content 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. His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.