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Buying guide for Best putting training aids

Golf is a deceptively difficult game, looking tame on the surface but with a lot going on underneath, and anyone who’s ever tried to sink a putt knows it. A slight variation in grip or a bad read of the terrain and the golf ball is rolling off in a completely unintended direction. Putting is a critical skill that amounts to half your score. That’s why putting training aids are so important to improving your game.

Whether a brand-new golfer or a seasoned pro, putting training aids are essential to skills development and maintenance. Gone is the simple setup of a spare iron, an old golf ball, and an overturned cup across an office floor. Putting training aids offer customizable terrain, visualization aids, and instant feedback. Golfers have a lot of choices in putting training aids, so it’s necessary to learn about classic situations and how to match the right training aid to your situation.

golf training aid
Even the pros struggle with putting. They use training aids and devote at least an equal amount of time to the short game as they do hitting from the tee.

How to buy the best putting training aid

Most important aspects of putting to train

  • Grip: The way you place your hands on the putter and how tightly you hold it has a great deal to do with the success of each putt. A proper grip (there’s more than one method) can reduce fatigue and soreness after a long session.
  • Body positioning: Aligning your body and feet correctly prior to and through the putt is essential to getting the golf ball to go in the direction you want.
  • Aim: You’d think this would be at the top of the list, but aiming is one element to a successful putt. It’s pretty important, and that’s why all putting training aids include aiming systems.
  • Path planning: Learning to chart a path to the cup is an aspect of some putting training aids.
  • Short vs. long putts: Because there are different skills required to sink short putts and long putts, find out the distance that a putting training aid is best suited for.

Most common types of putting training aids

Aiming mirror: For working on short putts where your eyes must remain focused on the ball throughout your setup and swing, an aiming mirror is an essential training aid. It can be used as an angle assist on longer putts, too. Place the ball onto the mirror, align your putter, and go.

Digital putting aid: This portable gadget works simply: you line it up opposite the face of your putter, and indicator lights tell you whether your putter is aligned correctly — and whether you maintained that alignment throughout the swing. It’s great for developing muscle memory to maintain the angle of the putter during the putt.

Terrain mat: A terrain mat is a portable (in most cases) mat topped with artificial turf that simulates the putting green. Some mats include bumpers to prevent the ball from rolling underneath furniture.

Ball return/pressure trainer: A mechanical ball return sends the golf ball back to you after you “sink” the putt at the end of the mat or floor course. An analog version, the upward-curving pressure trainer, returns missed putts to you so you can try the putt again without losing rhythm.

Weighted training ball: Need to add a little more power to your putt? Weighted training balls provide direct, instant feedback up the putting iron to your hands and arms and can provide insight into flaws in your technique.

Putting gates: Take on an advanced putting challenge with customizable gates to further hone your technique and directional control.

Will putting training aids really improve skills?

By matching the training aid to your weakest skill area, you can see a marked improvement in those skills with regular practice. It’s also not unusual to buy multiple putting training aids to target a range of problem areas and build all-around skills. Here are a few scenarios:

You frequently miss short putts that look easy. The short game is so challenging that pros hire coaches that specialize in this skill alone. So don’t feel bad — get proactive instead. Choose training aids that help with body alignment, club alignment, and aiming control.

Long putts cause great anxiety. Even pro golfers worry about long putts; about 10% of the time, they three-putt when the ball lands more than 25 feet from the cup. Learning to visualize a target and developing a steady swing rhythm are key. Look for a training aid that helps develop a rhythmic putting stroke. A mat with printed visualization aids and a mechanical ball return or putting ramp are good choices.

Your putts are consistently short, regardless of distance. A common tendency is to decelerate the swing just before your putter makes contact with the ball. Choose a marked putting mat that has guides for putting swing direction and distance. A weighted training ball can also help with putting follow-through.

You always misread the green. If your putts angle left when they should have gone right (or vice versa), a green reader training aid (analog or digital) can help calibrate your eyes and brain to the subtle terrain features of the putting green.

Get onto the green. The best training environment is an actual putting green, and many public courses allow you to use their practice green for free.


Can you accessorize a putting training aid?

Absolutely — there’s always something else to add to your training equipment that will give an edge to your putting game. Combining modern putting training aids with old-school assistants is helpful. Caring for your equipment is essential, too. Here are a few accessories to consider:

Golf tees

Besides their intended purpose of holding the ball in place, golf tees can be used in practice as aiming points and alignment correction aids.

Golf club cleaning kit

Clean dirt and gunk from your putting club with a stiff nylon brush and optional cleaning fluid to maintain optimal performance.

Artificial turf rake

Use an artificial turf rake to remove debris that’s stubbornly embedded in your indoor or outdoor putting mat.


Though it’s a low-tech alignment aid and distance measuring device, it can augment more complex putting training aids.

Impact Bag

When you want to work on your swing, a golf impact bag will help you improve both strength and distance. They're portable, so you can practice anywhere.

Develop a pre-putt ritual. Setting up your body alignment, grip, and aim the same way each time will hone your concentration prior to each putt.

How much do putting training aids cost?


For as little as $5 to $13, new golfers can grab key training aids like aiming mirrors, wrist alignment aids, gates, and aiming cups.


A wide array of analog training devices from aim assist to alignment correctors can be found in the $14 to $39 range.


Digital readers and specialized training equipment occupy the top price range of $40 to $119 for putting training aids.

Create an at-home practice setup. Make an uncluttered space inside or outdoors with room for a mat and training aids so you can work on your short game anytime.



  • Carry a putting aid with you. Mirror alignment aids, green readers and other aids can be used with on- and off-green practice setups, making them a highly versatile choice that fits in the storage pocket of your golf bag.
  • Develop a putting routine. Pro golfers know the importance of going through a series of steps before each putt; create your personal routine, too.
  • Keep a putting training aid nearby. Store a training aid in your office or cubicle, near your home office desk, in the man cave or she-shed, and anywhere you spend leisure time so you can practice frequently.
  • Keep putting mats clean. Brush the artificial turf top clear of debris and spot-clean with mild dish soap; wipe down the underside with a damp cloth.
  • Store putting training aids after use. Place putting mats in their storage bags, removing any bumpers or tack-on accessories, and likewise for smaller training aids.
  • Clean up if you leave your putting mat out in the rain. Hose off any mud or debris, brush the top turf with an artificial turf brush, and place on a raised surface to dry thoroughly.
There are no training aids during the game. Putting training aids aren’t allowed during a round of golf, even when it’s a casual day on the links with friends.


Q. Should I shell out top dollar for a putting training aid?

A. Putting training aids range from a few dollars to hundreds, but the most effective ones aren’t always the most expensive. Watch profiles of pro golfers training and take note of the putting training aids they use. Some keep it old-school with yardsticks and extra golf tees, but others employ digital green readers to confirm the slope of the green and wear wrist alignment cuffs to enhance their muscle memory. New golfers should avoid the priciest versions of these aids while still looking for durability and accuracy.

Q. Why is muscle memory so important for golf putting?

A. A consistent putt is the best way to improve this aspect of golfing. Training muscle memory helps your body to recognize and settle into the correct alignment ahead of the putt and to follow through correctly as you putt so the ball travels exactly the distance and direction you want it to go. The best way to develop muscle memory is repetition augmented by visualization exercises (helped by putting mirrors and marked mats) and slow-motion training (helped by wrist alignment cuffs).

Q. Why should I use a putting mirror?

A. The humble putting mirror is a pocket-sized training dynamo. Its alignment lines (black down the center for the correct swing, red boundary lines to keep you in line) are easy to follow as you look straight down at the putter. The mirror enables you to see the angle of the putter and the alignment of your body to the club, the ball, and the cup at the other end of your shot. The ball is placed in a designated spot at the outward edge of the mirror, where it rests as you line up your body, grip, and putter. The black line guides your swing and follow-through. Practice with the mirror regularly, and you’ll develop the keen muscle memory and mental focus needed to achieve the same alignment during a game.

Q. Where can I practice putting on a real green?

A. Putting mats can only improve your game so much. To really amp up your skills, you’ve got to practice them on a real putting green. Local public golf courses usually have practice greens where you can hone your skills. Contact them for information and rates — sometimes the practice green is open and free to all.

Q. Should I work with a golf pro to improve my game if putting training aids don’t help?

A. It’s recommended to schedule a training session with a pro, whether it’s your first time picking up a club or after decades of playing golf. Don’t wait until you’re having a frustrating time with a training aid; work with a pro on your putting skills and follow their advice on training aids to use that will help improve your weak spots. Over time, you’ll add and remove putting training aids based on the way your game develops. A pro can spot those changes and recommend new exercises and aids.


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