Body Height forms part of your setup at address.
You should stand so your arms can hang naturally. You can always adjust the distance your eyes are above the ball by where you grip the putter.
What posture should you adopt when putting? Should you:
Peter Alliss, a former English Ryder Cup player, stood very upright. Paul Trevillion in his book The Perfect Putting Method records Alliss' thoughts.
"I honestly think if I had been two inches shorter –say five foot eleven inches, I would have been a far better golfer than I am now ...
... this goes for putting as well; a short man is right down there with his eye on the ball, he's much more compact and so naturally has more control."
Certainly earlier golfers favoured a lower body position than they do today. Paul Trevillion, in support of the crouched position recommended in his putting method, draws on a book Putting Made Easy by P.A. Vaile, published in 1935.
Vaile explains that "The centre of the putting swing, as of all other golf strokes, is the top of the spine between the shoulder blades. In the crouching position the axis on which the shoulders and arms rotate is practically parallel with the green ...
... if anyone should know any better mounting for a pendulum I will be interested to hear about it, and be it remembered that the ideal putting stroke comes very near to the pendulum action."
While getting low is a good position for short putts – after all you crouch down behind the ball when you are trying to work out your aimline (target line) - it is not as good when it comes to judging distance. In judging distance you need a better perspective that you get from a higher vantage point.
In the January 2007 issue of Golf Digest David Leadbetter states that you should stand tall on long putts. His argument is that if he were going to throw a ball to a target, he would stand fairly erect as his right arm swings.
To quote "I wouldn't be bent over. Same with long putts… Standing taller frees everything up. It allows your arms and shoulders to make a nice, flowing motion. The worst thing you can do for a long putt is hunch over the ball and make a short, jabby stroke."
Most golfers don't change their posture based on the length of their putt. Irrespective of whether the emphasis of the putt is on direction or distance, their setup remains the same.
However, it is possible to adjust the distance your eyes are above the ball by where you position your hands on the grip – nearer the steel on short putts and nearer the butt end on long putts.
I am not for a moment suggesting that you change your body height for different putts. Rather you should find a comfortable and balanced position where your arms can hang naturally and swing freely - and then stick with this.
However, if you are consistently struggling with making your short putts you could try a lower body height. If you are struggling with your distance control, you could try standing a little taller as David Leadbetter suggests.
1 = Image from Langer on Putting by Bernhard Langer
2 = www.golfdigest.com