Nothing like a little click-bait to get you to view a post on putting practice…
Seriously though, why is it that so many of us neglect getting better on the greens when improving just a little bit will have a huge impact on our games? When was the last time you hit the putting green for a dedicated putting session? Most of us head straight to the range and smash 100 balls with the Big Dog.
Skills on the green are far and away the biggest skill gap between tour players and the rest of us. How many 3-putts do you reckon tour players have per round? It’s around 0.6… That’s the stuff of dreams right? The good news is that with practice, putting is pretty easy to improve.
Here are our favourite drills to turn you into a money taking, clutch putt machine!
Before you start
- Get yourself a notebook so you can track your improvement.
- Stick to the pre-shot routine you use on the course (The Gate drill can be an exception).
- Breathe! Taking a nice deep breath just before you take the putter back is a great way to keep a clear head and make a smooth stroke.
1. The Gate
In his prime Tiger was undisputedly the king of the greens. This is one of his favourite drills and will have your mates giving you more gimmes when they realise you never, EVER miss from 3 feet.
- Place two tees 3 feet from the hole just outside the heel and toe of your putter
- Hit 10 putts with your right hand only and then 10 with both hands
- Make 100 putts in a row and if you miss start again
The reason this drill works is that the critical element to nailing short ones is moving the putter head straight back and through. Make sure you place the tees only just wider than the width of your putter head. Sinking 100 in a row is pretty brutal but practice makes permanent.
2. Round the world
A personal favourite for building confidence from within 5 feet. The pressure element helps simulate how you feel having to sink a 5 footer for the beers.
- Find a hole with plenty of break on the practice green
- Step out 4 tees at 12, 3, 6, 9 o’clock 3 feet from the hole (choose positions that maximise the break of the green)
- Using 3 balls sink them all from each position starting again if you miss. Count the number of times you miss.
- Once you clear 3 feet move all tees out to 4 feet and repeat step 3
- Lastly, you have to clear 5 feet
Make a note of the total times you miss from 3,4,5 feet. This is what you’ll improve on the next time you do this drill.
3. Philthy lags
A favourite of everyone’s favourite short game guru Phil Mickelson, this drill will get your long putts closer to the hole. Who doesn’t love a tap-in from long range!
- Place a tee 30, 40 and 50 feet from a hole on the practice green
- Start at 40 feet with 5 balls
- Putt all 5 within the length of your putter from the hole
- If one is outside that length you gotta start again…
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 from 30 feet then 50 feet
Like in the Round the world drill, note down the number of times you had to start over and try to improve this number the next time you do this drill.
4. Pull back
Time to put your hard work on the short ones and long ones together. Master this drill and you’ll get that 3-putt average closer to the pros for sure.
- With one ball putt from hole to hole around the practice green
- If you don’t hole your first putt, pull it back the length of your putter from where it ends up
- Putt 18 holes taking note of your score to par (each hole is a par 2)
Note down your score to par so you can track your progress over time.
Running through each of these drills in a session will turn you into a demon on the greens. It’s a great mix of improving your technique through the gate drill and ramping up your feel and confidence with the others. Oh, and if you still want a weird trick try putting with your eyes closed.
Got any other drills you think are better or offer something different? Let us know in the comments!