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Can you line up your ball on the green?

Quick answer: Yes, you can and should line up your ball on the putting green before you putt. This is an important part of reading the green and setting up your putt. Proper alignment and a consistent putting stroke will lead to better putting and lower scores.

Lining up your golf ball correctly on the putting green is an essential skill every golfer should master. A proper ball alignment sets you up for a straight, smooth putting stroke and improves your chances of sinking those must-make putts. With the right technique, you can consistently roll the ball on your intended target line into the hole.

Why is Ball Alignment on the Green Important?

Quick answer: Proper alignment ensures your putter face is square to your target line. This allows you to stroke the ball on your chosen path to the hole.

Aligning your golf ball properly on the green before putting is vital for several reasons:

  • It helps you visualize the correct line to the hole based on the green’s contours and slope.
  • It squares the putter face to the target line so you start the ball on the path you want.
  • It promotes a straight, pendulum-like putting stroke.
  • It takes much of the guessing out of judging speed and break.
  • It boosts consistency in your putting and leads to more holed putts.

Without checking your alignment, it’s easy to misalign and send the ball off-line. Proper alignment gives you your best chance to match your read of the green and make more putts.

Visualizing the Line

Seeing the exact path you want the ball to travel is crucial for accurate putting. Lining up your ball allows you to mentally commit to the line based on your read of the slope and contours. This visualization promotes decisiveness in your stroke.

Squaring the Face

If the putter face is open or closed relative to your target line, the ball will launch off-line. Alignment ensures the face angles directly at the target to start the ball on your intended path.

Straight Stroke

Proper alignment promotes a straight back and through stroke along the target line. This pendulum-like motion leads to better pace and directional control.

Dialing In Distance

When you align the ball correctly, you can better focus on the correct speed or force required to reach the hole based on the distance.

Improving Consistency

Consistent alignment leads to consistent strokes. You will hole more putts by repeatedly aligning properly and committing to your line.

How to Line Up Your Golf Ball on the Green

Quick answer: Use alignment aids like line on ball and clubface lines. Pick your target line based on slope and contours. Align ball, feet, and shoulders parallel left of target line. Stroke the ball down the target line.

The keys to proper golf ball alignment on the green are:

  1. Using alignment aids like lines on your ball and putter.
  2. Choosing your target line based on reading the green.
  3. Aligning your ball, feet, and shoulders parallel left of the target line.
  4. Making a straight stroke down your target line.

Here is a step-by-step process for accurately lining up your putts:

Read the Green

Study the entire putt from behind the ball. Note any breaks, slopes or grain of the grass that will affect how the ball rolls. Decide on your target line – the intended starting line to roll the ball into the hole.

Use Alignment Aids

Many balls and putters have alignment aids like lines and arrows. Use these to help you visualize your target line. Place the line on your ball perpendicular to the target line. Align any lines on the putter face down the target line.

Align Your Feet

Position your feet in line, perpendicular to the target line. For most putts, placing your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart will improve stability.

Align Your Shoulders

Square your shoulders parallel to your foot line. Avoid an open or closed stance.

Position the Ball

Place the ball off your left heel (right heel for lefties) with the ball line aimed at your target. Positioning the ball at this central point will help you stroke straight back and through.

Align Your Eyes

Look down from your eyes to the ball, then extend out to the target line. This ensures your eyes, ball and target line are all connected.

Make Your Stroke

With your eyes still on the target line, make a smooth, straight back and forward stroke over the ball. Keep the face square and on your intended line throughout the stroke.

Common Alignment Errors

Quick answer: Common errors include misreading slope, open or closed stance, misaligned ball and feet, crooked backswing, and taking your eyes off the target line.

Even experienced golfers make ball alignment mistakes on the green. Being aware of the most common errors can help you avoid them:

Misreading Slope or Grain

Failing to properly read how the contours and grass grain affect the roll of the putt will lead to choosing the wrong target line. Always consider the break when picking your line.

Open or Closed Stance

If your feet and shoulders are aimed left or right of your target line, your stroke will likely come across at an angle. Keep feet and shoulders parallel to promote a straight stroke.

Misaligned Ball and Feet

If your ball position is off from perpendicular to your foot line, your stroke may veer off-line. Ball and feet alignment should match parallel left of the target.

Taking Eyes Off the Target

Any deviation of your eyes from the target line during the stroke can cause misdirection. Keep your eyes down and on your target until well after contact.

Crooked Backswing

A backswing that swings too far inside or outside the target line will often lead to an off-line stroke. Make your backswing straight along the target line.

Putting Alignment Drills

Quick answer: The following drills can help improve your setup alignment: the gate drill, the chalk line drill, the close eyes drill, and the mirror drill. Master alignment with repetition.

Doing alignment drills and practice on the putting green is the best way to reinforce proper technique to consistently line up your golf ball. Here are some simple drills to try:

The Gate Drill

Place two clubs or alignment sticks on the ground parallel to your target line. Align your ball between the “gates” and stroke the ball through the opening without touching the sticks.

The Chalk Line Drill

Use chalk or a face cleanser to draw a line on the ball perpendicular to the target. Align the chalk line with the target and stroke along it.

The Close Eyes Drill

Set up properly with your eyes open. Then close your eyes and try to feel when you are aligned correctly to the target. Trust your senses.

The Mirror Drill

Practice your routine in front of a mirror to ensure your stance, ball position and motion align correctly down the target line.

Stroke Drills

Hit putts aiming at a specific spot 2-3 feet in front of the ball to promote a straight stroke. Or try tapping the ball back and through the target line groove to ingrain the path.

How to Use Alignment Aids

Quick answer: Marks on your ball and putter aid alignment. But don’t become over-reliant. Master lining up without aids by practicing fundamentals like reading slope and proper setup.

Alignment aids like lines on your golf ball and putter can be useful guides when learning how to line up putts. But golfers should be careful not to become overly dependent on them. Here are some tips for effective use of aids:

Use Ball Lines

Many golf balls have an arrow line or dots to help you orient the ball toward your target. Use them only as guides – still go through your full routine.

Apply Face Marks

Drawing alignment lines on your putter face can assist in lining it up square. Be sure marks don’t distract from soft grip and free stroke.

Try Training Aids

Gates, rails and clips can help ingrain proper alignment when practicing. But don’t use them as a crutch on the course.

Practice Without Aids

Work on reading greens and proper setup position so you can learn to align without aids. Master the basics.

Relying too heavily on aids can hinder your skill in visualizing breaks and slopes. Use alignment aids as training guides, but practice aligning without them too. Developing your fundamental putting alignment skills directly will make you a better putter.

Putting Alignment Tips

Here are some additional useful ball alignment tips for improving your putting:

Find Your Neutral

Determine the ideal ball position for your stance so you feel balanced over putts. This may be slightly forward or back of center.

Reference Intermediate Targets

Pick near, mid and long distance spots on your line to serve as alignment guides for the ball and putter face.

Set Up Quickly

Don’t obsess over aiming too long. Go with your initial read and setup promptly to avoid second-guessing.

Commit Fully

Once aligned, trust your line fully. Don’t hesitate or “steer” the putt when you stroke.

Assess Misses

Note the direction of misses to identify if you have an alignment issue vs. a stroke path problem.

Stay Focused

Maintain concentration from green read through your entire routine to avoid alignment mistakes.


Properly aligning your golf ball on the green is a vital skill for consistent putting and lower scores. By mastering alignment fundamentals like reading the terrain, squaring your putter face, and positioning your feet, shoulders and ball correctly, you will roll the ball on your intended target line more frequently. Dedicate practice time to ingraining an effective alignment routine. Consistently going through the proper steps before putting will soon have you holing more putts.