Undoubtedly the single biggest mistake most amateur golfers make is they neglect their putting.
Think about it: in any given round you will only hit driver a maximum of 14 times, unless you are exceptionally short off the tee (we have tips to fix that here) and need to wield the big stick for the occasional long Par 3.
Yet for most people, a session at the range sees a bucket of balls dedicated to the irons and driver before walking straight past the putting green and back to the car.
From my experience, ranges often disappoint when it comes to the maintenance of their short game areas, but if you spend a little money or get creative at home (or purchase one of our recommended indoor putting greens), putting is the one element of your game you can practice without a backyard, and without the need to vacate your lounge room.
There is really no excuse not to practice your putting – whether it’s your grip, your alignment or even plumb bobbing – and any good golf coach out there will tell you this is the place you can shave huge amounts of strokes off your game and actually compete with the pros on a statistical level.
You may never hit the 350-yard drives or pull off insane 3-iron carries over water from the middle of a fairway bunker, but you can theoretically play 18 with a total of 25 putts or less.
Thankfully, there is a huge range of high quality, relatively cheap gear on the market that will help spice up your putting practice and make it fun and interesting at home or in the office.
The best putting aids I could find that are available in 2021 are the:
- Putt Out Putting Mirror
- Odyssey Putting Mirror
- Putt Out Golf Mat
- Putt Out Pressure Putt Trainer
- Putt Out Pro Putting Gates
- SKLZ Accelerator Pro Putting Mat
- SKLZ Golf Putt Pocket
- Gray’s Golf Training Aid
- Go Sports Down The Line Putting String
- IXIA Sports True Pendulum Motion
- Go Sports Lag Putting Circle
- Putt Trax Putting Gates
- Pelz Golf Putting Track
- PGM Golf Putting Green with Auto Ball Return
Many of these aids make for great competitions with your girlfriend, wife and kids (and can be the first step to introducing them to golf) and can be rolled out or dusted off to be used while watching TV. So, there really are no excuses!
Whether practicing at home or looking for a pre-round edge on the warm up green, check out the top putting training aids that 2021 has to offer below and consider picking up one that could shave strokes off your golf game within weeks.
Table of contents
Putt Out Putting Mirror
Putt Out are renowned for producing high quality training aids, and I definitely feel that paying a bit extra for the Putt Out brand will lead to retained longevity after years of use.
The Putt Out Putting Mirror can be used flat on the ground or stood up facing towards you to give valuable feedback on club path back and through, as well as horizontal to the ground.
The mirror also has a pair of adjustable magnetic guides, designed to train your putting stroke to meet the ball at a square position and follow a desirable path.
Additionally, a single putting gate is included to aid your aim and ensure you get the ball rolling on the correct line, ideal not only for practice on the greens but at home or in the office on carpet.
While reading greens and pace can be tricky, it doesn’t matter how accurate your judgment is if you can’t get the ball on line; the Putt Out mirror will help you hit your mark more often than not.
This mirror is perfect for monitoring head position, offering a clear reflection to help ensure your eyes are directly over the ball and the head is staying still during your putting.
A great little feature is the spikes built into the corners of the mirror, meaning it will pierce the turf securely with no need for tees to hold it into position – something not present in many of the other mirrors on the market.
Odyssey Putting Mirror
Any positive words about Putt Out products could equally be applied to Odyssey aids and gear, with the brand renowned as one of the strongest putting names in the game of golf.
The Odyssey version of a putting mirror is a little sharper edged and squarer than the Putt Out version, so you may find that this mirror makes you feel as if you can line things up and keep that putter straight and square even easier.
The Odyssey putting mirror doesn’t have built in spikes to secure it to the turf, but it includes pegs that can be used to keep it stable as well as create barriers to putt through.
They can be set quite narrow to create a real challenge for people wanting to start their putts dead on line.
While it doesn’t come with an additional gate or magnetic barriers like the Putt Out version, it does far better in terms of price, coming in at around half the cost of the mirror from Putt Out.
Putt Out Golf Mat
This mat from Putt Out is one of the best ‘no frills’ putting trainers on the market and a perfect addition to anyone’s home training set up.
I’ve owned the Putt Out Golf Mat for several months now and find it super easy to roll out on my hard floor and get in some quick practice or a lengthy grind.
The rubber base and artificial grass finish both feel great and you can just tell it has been built to last.
What I love about this mat is, despite the fact it is stored rolled up, it flattens beautifully each time you set it up and runs dead pure, rated at 10 on the stimpmeter.
The shorter 8-foot version comes with a range of markings so you can practice pace and alignment, as well as aiming for the hole marked at the end of the mat.
The longer version, at around 18 feet in length, has additional hole markings so you can switch your aim points and practice going through your pre-shot routine for different lines and distances.
You will likely need to invest a little more money though to get the most out of this product, and buying something like the Putt Out Pressure Putt Trainer, alignment gates or a flat putting cup will hone your stroke and judgement even more than just the mat itself.
Nonetheless, if a simple, home-friendly putting mat is what you are after, I don’t know if there’s one I’d recommend more than this offering from Putt Out.
Putt Out Pressure Putt Trainer
One of the most cleverly designed yet simple putting tools on the market, Putt Out’s Pressure Putt Trainer is designed to replicate the exact same conditions as putting into a hole on a green (unless, of course, you’re playing in the rain).
The parabolic design causes each putt to return towards the person the exact same distance it would have travelled past the hole, providing valuable feedback on your pace.
Poor putts will be rejected, sliding off the side and failing to be returned to the user.
There is also a ‘perfect putt’ option – remove the plug in the centre and if you nail the pace and trajectory, the putt will stick in the small hole exposed.
The Pressure Putt Trainer is super cheap, coming in at less than $30 USD yet provides so much feedback on your putting.
It works superbly when paired with a putting matt that replicates the speed of an average green, but is also highly effective when used on a carpeted surface.
If you have a decent, level carpet floor to putt on, I’d suggest starting off with the Pressure Putt Trainer before looking at some putting mat options to build up your training aid stocks.
For general putting ‘feel’ and harnessing pace – something amateur golfers are notoriously bad at – the Pressure Putt Trainer is well worth purchasing.
Putt Out Pro Putting Gates
Another great tool to practice your start direction, the Putt Out Pro Putting Gates come in a set of three: small, medium and large.
Each size correlates with a slightly different width of gate, smallest obviously being the most challenging and largest having a simpler gap to putt through.
Each gate slides into a slot on two ‘feet’, both with grips on the bottom so they’ll remain stable on carpet and greens alike.
Not only are they excellent to use on their own, working gradually from the larger gap to the smaller one, but the full set of three spread out between starting position and the hole (or target) makes for a great challenge: keeping the ball on line all the way to the centre of the hole.
Using the three gates together is also handy for breaking putts – after a few rolls without them to get the break, line them up to follow the curve of the putt and really hone in on getting the speed right so the ball dies in on the high side (this drill works great with the SKLZ Golf Putt Pocket).
The Putt Out Pro Putting Gates are a quality tool, but at a price of nearly $50 you might find cheaper alternatives out there, that is, unless you are trying to complete the full range of putting aids from Putt Out.
SKLZ Accelerator Pro Putting Mat
The SKLZ Accelerator Pro Putting Mat is arguably the best ball returning mat on the market, especially at its unreal sub $50 price point.
While putting mats with hole markings on them do the job for judging pace, they will always lack the sweet satisfaction felt when the ball rattles around in the bottom of the cup.
A major annoyance of my Putt Out Pro mat is that, even with the Pressure Putt Trainer, balls aren’t always returned, so strolling up to the far end to gather these up can break focus and rhythm.
The reward of a holed putt being returned to your feet with the Accelerator Pro mat is truly magical, and even missed putts will usually take the ramp back down towards your starting point.
While the Putt Out Mat oozes quality with a rubber base and trim that isn’t quite replicated here, the price and additional features of the SKLZ Accelerator Pro could well make it the more enviable of the two.
With markings at three, five and seven feet, you’ll be able to hone your stroke from short-mid range from the comfort of your own home.
SKLZ Golf Putt Pocket
You won’t find a simpler, cheaper training aid for your putting than the SKLZ Golf Putt Pocket, coming in at barely $10.
It might not seem like much, but this trainer provides a great aiming point when putting at home on the carpet or using a specially made putting mat.
I know I have found putting on my Pro Putt mat at home a little monotonous at times, so having a SKLZ putt pocket or similar product really helps to provide feedback about whether close putts would have actually been holed or potentially have lipped out.
As well as replicating a golf cup on a flat surface, the SKLZ Putt Pocket also trains you to make putts on the high side or at least make better misses on the actual practice green.
By placing this cup with the 2.75 inch (slightly narrower than a golf cup) opening pointing towards the high side of breaking putts, it will train you to die the ball into the hole at the optimum pace.
Whether used at home on carpet, with a mat, or on course, the Putt Pocket is a cheap and handy tool to get those putts dialled in.
Gray’s Golf Training Aid
This Gray’s Golf Training Aid needs very little explanation – lay it down, line up a putt and keep it on target.
This metal strip is very cheap yet very useful, costing only $20 but teaching you to do one of the most important things in golf – start your putts on the correct line.
It can be used with a hole or even at home on the carpet by placing a golf ball in the small hole at one end.
Practice making putts that don’t fall off the strip of steel before reaching the end and you can be certain the putt started, and stayed, on line. Simple!
Some people might argue that a simple steel ruler could be found at a cheaper price and be just as effective, but many have annoying notches that can cause the ball to bobble around or fall off line unfairly.
While this aid isn’t overly exciting it will fit easily in your golf bag and help hone your putting just as much as any other fancy, ‘tech’ filled training tool on the market.
Go Sports Down The Line Putting String
An incredibly simple and compact training aid, the Go Sports Down The Line Putting String is incredibly easy to use and takes up hardly any room in your bag.
If you like the idea of a ruler like the Gray’s Golf Training Aid but find it annoying trying to store another rigid apparatus – much like your alignment sticks – in your bag, the fact that this string winds up and slips neatly into a pouch will likely make it more appealing.
The aim of the game here with this putting string is similar to that of many of the other aids mentioned: it’s all about starting the ball on line.
The string can be wound out to 10 feet in total distance, staked into the ground at either end.
Use it on a flat surface to get the ball to start, and stay, on line, practicing a stroke that never misses your spot.
It also works nicely for breaking putts and gets you to putt to a point without thinking about the hole.
It can be set up so you putt to the far stake, knowing pace just shy of what is needed to get there will turn and break, falling into the hole.
For a lot of people out there, putting rulers and gates, as much as they are fantastic, can be frustrating, given they require very precise putts to avoid rolling off the ruler or clunking into the gate.
At least with the string you’ll get feedback without the frustration of seeing your putt bump into gates or barriers if you’re struggling with your stroke.
IXIA Sports True Pendulum Motion
Ultimately, there are two factors that lead to making a putt: the right line and the right pace.
It doesn’t really matter how you achieve these two things, but like all of the different golf swings, there is usually a most efficient and repeatable way to do things.
The IXIA Sports True Pendulum Motion trainer preaches this, aiming to develop that perfect ‘pendulum’ putting motion with arms, weight and shoulders all working in smooth cohesion to create that optimum roll.
This training aid attaches to any putter with two rods, one that sits under each armpit.
To keep these rods in place you need to avoid any flaring of the arms, causing the body and shoulders to swing, rather than the arms, to complete the stroke.
Training this action repetitively will help remove those damaging ‘figure eight’ movements in the backswing and keep your putter on line back and through.
It is a tad pricey and maybe not be as exciting as things like putting matts or the Putt Out Pressure Putt trainer, but if, no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to get the ball on line, this training aid will ensure it isn’t your stroke mechanics that’s the culprit.
Go Sports Lag Putting Circle
Now, if putting is one of the least practiced parts of the game, lag putting is probably the least practiced part of putting.
Stupidly, many people’s putting routines before a round consist of dropping a few balls down, attempting to hole every putt from an arbitrary distance like six feet then heading to the first tee.
But how many times during a round are you:
- A) Actually expecting to hole the putt you are lining up and;
- B) Blasting a putt that far past that you miss the one coming back and ruin the hole.
Enter the Go Sports Lag Putting Circle.
These thin, flat, plastic hoops will challenge you to develop one of the most underrated yet important skills in the game of golf: lag putting.
If you work back from the hole, becoming deadly inside three feet, then regularly getting the ball within three feet, you have a recipe for two-putts that will see your handicap plummet.
These circles come in a pair with a three-foot and six-foot ring, perfect for practicing chipping and pitches with the larger one and lag putting with the smaller one.
As with many of these aids, you don’t even need to drive to the course or range – just throw the three-foot ring down in the living room and practice hitting that perfectly paced putt, time and time again.
Putt Trax Putting Gates
The Putt Trax Putting Gates are a simple and super adjustable tool to ensure your putting stroke leads to a square face every time at impact.
The beauty of these alignment gates is their flexibility, not only suitable for use on carpet or when staked into the green, but since they are completely separate they can be widened as much as possible.
Sometimes the putting mirrors on the market just feel too tight and can be frustrating for golfers who feel like no matter how hard they try, they keep collecting the gates.
By being able to widen these, it allows for you to find a happy medium between confidence building and stroke improvement.
They can also be used as gates to putt the ball through – not just for squaring the face – or even laid out near the hole as obstacles, helping you to take the high side, nailing the pace and working on making breaking putts die into the hole.
Pelz Golf Putting Track
One of the biggest mistakes many amateur golfers make is taking a huge backswing just to decelerate and stab at the ball, knowing a full follow through will send the ball hurtling past the hole.
If this is you, investing in the Pelz Golf Putting Track will give you great visual feedback around your putting stroke.
The track is great for developing a down the line stroke through impact, with the guide rails training away any annoying swaying or twisting.
The distance markers are also a superb reference point for swing distances and follow throughs, so you can start to develop a real understanding of how far the club needs to go back to putt three, six and nine feet, or even farther.
This method works for Bryson Dechambeau and could well see you holing more putts too.
PGM Golf Putting Green with Auto Ball Return
The PGM Putting Green is one of the best ball returning greens out there, with additional features compared to the SKLZ offering discussed earlier.
It is pricier but does come with extra technology to keep your home or office training sessions stimulating and varied.
One side of the mat has a hole a little tighter than standard, perfect for judging pace and trying to repeatedly die the ball in at just the right velocity.
The right-hand side has a line to help you practice short-to-medium length putts, as well as a reduced size hole (2.4” as opposed to 4.5”).
If you’re looking for a putting green that will return your ball but also provides an extra challenge, it may well be worth forking out for this one.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but covers the best of the putting aids on the market in 2021 and the main ones worth considering to improve things like alignment, stroke and pace.
Without doubt, putting is the greatest area of the golf game any amateur can reduce strokes from.
So instead of blowing hundreds of dollars on range balls, I’d strongly recommend investing some money in a few good quality training aids so you can continue to groove that putting stroke on course, at home or even at the office (when your boss isn’t looking).
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