Visualising a putting path makes good sense as
a path is thought of as being WIDER than a line.
Putting is about perception. Visualising a path to the hole rather than a line makes the putt appear easier. This helps with your confidence level.
In your mind the task of rolling your ball along a broad path will simplify your putt.
Why should you do this? You should do this because putting in the final analysis comes down to how confident you feel. Everything you do to build your confidence therefore helps to improve your putting.
For example, on long putts you are told to imagine a circle with a three-foot radius around the hole.
Putting to a three-foot circle is obviously easier than putting to a hole that is only four and a quarter inches in diameter. By increasing the size of your target, you have altered your perception of how difficult the task is.
Most golfers traditionally pick a line on which they wish to roll their ball. In the Rules of Golf they talk of the line of a putt. But a line is thin and it is easy for your ball to deviate from something so narrow.
It is difficult to roll your ball along a line, and because of the difficulty of the perceived task you could find yourself tensing up and guiding your stroke.
Now instead of a line think of yourself putting down a path or track the width of the hole. Keep in mind that your perception of how difficult or easy a task is will influence how well you manage the task. The easier the task appears the more success you are likely to have.
This same mind game is used when you putt to a tee peg rather than a hole on the practice putting green. The idea is that out on the course the hole will appear larger. Of course, it is the same size as it has always been, but in comparison to your earlier target, the challenge of holing the putt will seem less daunting.
By way of a further example, professional golfers alter their perception when it comes to hitting fairways. They have a preferred shot shape and use this to double the width of their landing area.
For example, if their preferred shot shape is a fade, they aim down the left edge of the fairway and then have the full width of the fairway as their target. The task just got easier.
Dr Joe Parent writes in his book Zen Putting that it is better to use the word 'path' than 'line'. He describes how a path feels nice and wide and that it is easy to walk down a wide path with confidence.
On the other hand a line is narrow and it is difficult to walk along a thin line without straying off it.
So get into the habit, not of a picking a line, but rather a WIDE PATH.
Visualise your ball rolling along this putting path towards the hole. No longer does it have to hug a fine line for you to successfully hole your putt.
1 = www.golfdigest.com Aug 2009
2 = golf / Dec 1964
3 = www.free-clipart.net