Alignment is crucial to finding success on the greens, but overanalyzing your alignment can sometimes do more damage than good. We have all heard at some point to simply draw a straight line on the ball, point the line at your target and your alignment problems are solved. This certainly is a great method that has helped many golfers improve their putting by adding this directional sight line. But, anyone that has tried this method has likely also experienced doubt or mistrust once you have addressed your ball and no longer agree with what you see. Using a sight line is great provided you can accurately point it in the correct direction. If not, there is a good chance that you will see or feel something different once you are over the ball and at that point, good luck! If you doubt what you see or feel, you inevitably will put a poor stroke on the ball.
In contrast, how many times have you dropped three balls on the practice putting green, simply looked at the hole fifteen feet away, and without reading a thing, rolled your first putt straight in the hole? Sure, you can say ‘well there’s no pressure on the practice green’. But what you should notice, is how if you allow your eyes, feet and natural unstrict to take over, you WILL make more putts.
So try this both in practice and on the course. Do not use a line for the next two weeks. Spend at least 80% of the time before stroking a putt looking ‘down’ the intended line of the putt and at your target. During your practice strokes, really ‘see’ and ‘focus’ on your target, then trace the line you intend to roll the ball on from the hole back to the ball. When you address the ball, set your putter head behind the ball first. Then while looking at your target, set your feet and body naturally to what you see. Once you are set, slowly trace the line from the target back to your ball one last time and pull the trigger without hesitation. This is a natural process, not an exact science. It should be fluid and athletic.
I am confident this process will not only improve your alignment, but will improve your rhythm, contact and distance control. All resulting in fewer putts!