Heads Up Putting and Why It Can Work For You

If you are lacking confidence on the greens it may be time to try a new approach. This is a new way to putt so why not try this unconventional method and see if it could work for you?

What is Heads Up Putting?

Heads up putting refers to keeping your head and eyes focused on the hole and ball throughout the entire putting stroke. Don’t lift or turn your head during the backswing or follow through. Always putt with your eyes directly over the ball, looking straight down at the line you intend the ball to roll on. Pick a spot 1-2 inches in front of the ball as your focal point.

Keep your head still and steady before, during and after contact with the ball. Any extra head movement can cause inconsistencies in your stroke and pace.Resist the temptation to look up quickly after hitting the putt to see where the ball is going. Keep your head down and eyes focused in front of the ball for a second or two after contact.

Develop a pendulum-like motion with your putting stroke, letting the clubhead swing back and forth while your head stays centered over the ball. Don’t sway your head from side to side.

Proper alignment of your head over the ball will keep your eyes directly over your intended line. This makes it easier to start the ball rolling on the correct path.Consistent heads up putting takes practice but allows you to better control distance and direction. Keep your head steady and locked in position for more accurate putts.

Benefits of Heads Up Putting

The “heads up” putting style has become popular in golf instruction as a way to improve accuracy and consistency on the greens. This technique emphasizes keeping your head still and eyes focused on the ball during the entire putting stroke. What are the potential advantages of putting with your head up?

  • Better alignment and aim – Keeping your eyes directly over the ball makes it easier to align the putter face and your stance in the proper direction. This can lead to starting the ball on the intended target line.
  • Increased consistency – With your head steady in one position, your putting stroke and contact point become more repetitive. This consistency can lead to improved distance control.
  • Improved pace judgement – With your eyes focused on the ball and line, you get a better sense of the proper speed and pace needed to match the distance.
  • More solid contact – Centering your head behind the ball encourages striking the sweet spot on the putter face more often. This can lead to cleaner contact and roll.
  • Greater confidence – Keeping your head down through contact reinforces trusting your read and stroke. This confidence can lead to more committed, decisive putting.

Drawbacks of Heads Up Putting

  • Difficulty reading greens – Keeping your head down impair your ability to read breaks and slopes in greens before putting. This could lead to misread putts.
  • Requires practice – Keeping your head steady during the stroke feels unnatural at first. It takes repetition to become comfortable.
  • Can cause rigidity – Some golfers become too stiff and rigid trying to keep their head still, leading to restricted movement.
  • No feedback – You don’t get to see the results of your stroke and if the ball is on line. This lack of feedback can be frustrating.
  • Not watching the hole – By keeping your head down, you lose sight of the hole while stroking putts. This defeats the purpose of visualization.

Can Heads Up Putting Work For You?

The “heads up” putting technique has become popular due to its focus on improving alignment, pace control and consistency. However, it can feel unnatural at first if you’re not used to putting with your head steady and eyes fixed on the ball. Here are some tips to help adapt to this style:

Start Small: Don’t try to overhaul your entire putting routine. Begin by using the heads up method on short putts within 5 feet. Get used to the new motion and feeling on easy putts before expanding your range.

Find Your Reference Point: Determine the spot in front of the ball about 1-2 inches away where you’ll focus your eyes during the stroke. This reference point will keep your eyes and head centered.

Develop Rhythm: Work on a smooth, pendulum-like motion back and forth over the ball. Let your shoulders rock while keeping your head still. This rhythm is crucial for distance control.

Make Smaller Strokes: Resist taking the putter back very far or swinging quickly with your shoulders. Make compact, controlled strokes back and through the ball.

Trust Your Read: Once you have your line and speed, trust it. Have confidence to stroke the putt with commitment without feeling like you need to peek to see the result.

Be Patient: Change takes time. Stick with the heads up style for multiple practice sessions to groove it effectively. Don’t expect it to feel natural after just a few putts.

The heads up putting technique can definitely work for you but it does take some adjustments. With consistent practice, it can help sharpen your alignment, contact point, pace and confidence on the greens. Stay patient, develop a smooth rhythm and keep your head down for improved consistency. This could be the key to improved putting!

Best Putting Drills For Heads Up Putting

  • Gate Drill – Place two clubs or alignment sticks on the ground about a putter head width apart, aligned to your target. Strike putts while keeping your head down and hitting between the “gates”.
  • Continuous Stroke Drill – Take continuous stroke back and forth over the ball without stopping your motion. Helps ingrain a smooth tempo.
  • Eyes Closed Drill – With your eyes directly over the ball, close them during the backstroke and stroke. Keeps your head steady.
  • Ball Circle Drill – Mark a circle around your ball and stroke putts while keeping your eyes and head inside the circle perimeter.


Do any pros use heads up putting?

Yes, there are several prominent professional golfers who utilize the heads up putting technique. Here are just a few below:

  • Tiger Woods – One of the most famous heads up putters. Tiger keeps his eyes and head steady over the ball from start to finish when putting.
  • Rory McIlroy – McIlroy has spoke about his commitment to heads up putting, believing it helps him start the ball on his intended line.
  • Dustin Johnson – Johnson is another advocate of the heads up style. Keeping his head down reinforces his read of the greens.

Does keeping your head down impair reading greens?

It can make it more difficult to read breaks before stroking the putt. But you should read the green before stepping in and trusting that read during the stroke.

Should I look at the hole when putting?

Perspectives differ on whether golfers should look at the hole when putting. Advocates argue it allows visualizing the line and pace, while critics contend it can be distracting. Keeping your eyes down promotes consistency in strike and direction. But glancing at the target provides helpful information too. Testing both approaches to find the one that delivers your most confident, committed stroke is recommended. There are good cases on both sides of this debate.


In conclusion, the heads up putting style can provide some notable benefits but also requires practice and adjustment to master. It emphasizes keeping your eyes and head positioned directly over the ball throughout the stroke.

This technique seems to work best for golfers who:

  • Struggle with consistent strike and directional control. Keeping your head still improves alignment and contact.
  • Have issues with pace judgement. Seeing the line fully helps calibrate distance.
  • Tend to decelerate or “steer” putts rather than commit. Keeping eyes down promotes confidence.
  • Want to build rhythm and smoothness in their stroke. The pendulum motion complements heads up putting.

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