It’s no secret that the fastest way for golfers of any ability to start shooting lower scores is to make more putts. Whether you shoot 110 or even par, studies have shown that strokes on the green account for 40 to 50 percent of your total score.
The problem is that most amateurs don’t spend enough time working on this all too important part of the game. Instead, they’d rather go to the driving range and hit drivers and seven-irons. While there’s certainly a time and place for that, most everyone needs to spend more time on their putting.
In this article, we’re going to discuss three drills that will not only help you make more putts, but are fun to do as well.
Understanding Putting Fundamentals
There’s no doubt that putting is the most individual part of the game. Just tune into golf on any weekend and you’ll see all kinds of different putters, grips, and stances. The bottom line is that if you find something that works, you should stick with it.
With that being said, there are some basic putting fundamentals you have to get right if you’re going to putt well consistently.
Just like any other shot in golf, the way you set up to your putts largely determines your chances of hitting a good putt.
(Remember: The way you set up to the golf ball is like the foundation of your home. Without a foundation, your home’s walls would fall down around you.)
Regardless of what type of putting grip you choose to employ, your palms should be facing each other. This is a neutral position that gives you the best chance of returning the clubface to a square position at impact.
Once you have your hands on the putter, the next thing to look at is ball position and eye position. The ball should be in the middle or slightly ahead of the center of your stance. Additionally, your eyes should be directly over the golf ball.
If you get the ball too far back in your stance, or your eyes too far to the outside of the golf ball, you’re going to have trouble controlling speed and starting putts online.
The last key to achieving a proper putting setup is to make sure your weight is slightly on your target-side foot. This is a stable position and helps eliminate lower body movement during the stroke.
If too much of your weight is on your back foot, you’re adding loft to the putter and encouraging unnecessary lower body movement – both hindrances to consistent putting.
Once you’ve achieved a fundamentally sound setup position with your putter, you’re in a spot to make a repeatable, consistent stroke.
While there are all sorts of different theories on what types of strokes are the best, the key is to find one that you’re comfortable with and allows you to hit putts solid time after time.
Practice Like You Play
If you’ve read any of my other instructional articles, you know that I’m a huge proponent of practicing like you play. In other words, it’s much more beneficial to make your practice purposeful and game-like, instead of just going through the motions.
The following three drills will help you practice with a purpose and give you a way to measure your progress.
20-Foot, 30-Foot, 40-Foot Putting Drill
All good putters know that the most important aspect of putting is speed. When you have good speed, the putts you miss end up a lot closer to the hole. As a result, the number of three and four-putts you have decreases significantly.
To do this drill, all you need is three tees and three golf balls.
To set it up, place a tee 20 feet from the hole, another at 30 feet, and the last at 40 feet, all on the same line.
Start this drill by hitting three putts at 20 feet. The goal is to stop all three putts within a putter’s length of the hole. Once you’ve accomplished this, do the same thing at 30 feet, then 40 feet.
While this might sound easy enough, there’s a twist; if you miss a putt from any distance, you have to start back over at 20 feet. The drill is completed when you’ve hit all nine putts inside a putter’s length consecutively.
3-Foot, 4-Foot Putting Drill
Just as having proper speed from long range is imperative if you’re going to become a better putter, so is making those knee-knockers from short range.
A great way to practice these putts is with the 3-foot, 4-foot putting drill.
To set up this drill, you need eight tees and a single golf ball. Start by placing four tees three feet away from the hole at points in front, behind, left, and right, just like the points on a compass.
Do the same thing at four feet.
Begin this drill by hitting all four putts from three feet and making them. Then move back to four feet and do the same thing.
Just like the drill above however, if you miss a putt at any point during the process, you have to start over with the first three-foot putt.
The drill is complete when you’ve made all eight putts consecutively.
This drill is great because it allows you to hit both uphill and downhill putts, as well as putts that break both right and left.
Play 9 Holes
This is perhaps the simplest, but most effective drill of the three. Next time you get to the course to practice, grab your putter and a single ball.
Start by putting to the first hole you come to. Then choose another, and another until you’ve played nine holes.
During this drill, use two as par for every hole and add up your score at the end (even par is 18 putts).
If your total score is at 18 or lower, give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done. If it’s higher than 18, however, you’ve got something to work toward next time.
It’s easy to understand why most of us would rather spend an hour beating balls on the driving range than we would working on something as seemingly simple as putting.
But the hard truth is that putting accounts for more strokes than any other part of your game.
If you can dedicate just a little time to doing the drills mentioned in this article, I promise you’ll start making more putts, having more fun, and shooting lower scores.
Fairways and greens until next time,