Putting is one of the critical skills in golf. While the concepts and mechanics are simple, many golfers struggle to improve their putting. This article focuses on fundamental practice drills that will improve your putting.
Do Not Worry So Much about Technique or Equipment
It does not matter which putting style or equipment you prefer – swing gate or straight through, belly putter or conventional putter, mallet or blade. The secret to putting well is starting the ball on the right line at the right speed. That is it. The putting drills here focus on helping you master the line of your putts and the pace of your putts.
Line or Pace
Which is more important, line or pace? Every golfer knows both are equally important. Experience has taught us that putts with too much or too little pace, do not follow the intended line. Putts that start off line often have no chance of getting close to the hole, let alone in it. What can you do to become an expert at matching your line and your pace?
First, learn to strike the ball with the intended pace. Two excellent drills to help you learn this are the Static Distance Drill and the Random Distance Drill.
Static Distance Drill
The Static Distance Drill can be done anywhere – on the putting green, at home, at the office. This putting drill will improve your feel for judging pace. Wherever you do it follow these steps:
- Select a level part of the practice green or floor.
- Place two markers (e.g. coins or golf tees) on the putting surface. Place one at the maximum distance you want your ball to travel; the other at the minimum distance you want your ball to travel. To begin with, give yourself a few inches between the minimum and maximum distance. As you get better at controlling your pace, leave less distance between your markers.
- Once the markers are in place, putt balls from the same point on the putting surface at a pace that allows them to stop at a distance that is between the two markers. Perform this drill from the same distance until ten consecutive putts stop between the markers.
- Move both to a new location. It should be at least three feet from the previous position.
- Repeat steps three and four for as many distances as time allows.
Random Distance Drill
The Random Distance Drill improves your ability to get the pace of a putt right the first time. This drill has the following steps:
- Select a marker that you can safely toss onto the putting surface. Coins, tees, or putter covers all work well.
- Place a ball on a level spot of the putting surface.
- From that spot, toss your marker to another spot on the putting surface.
- Putt one ball to the marker.
- Move the spot where your marker is, pick up, and toss it to another spot on the putting surface.
- Repeat steps four and five until you can putt to ten consecutive random markers, give or take an inch or two.
Starting your putt on your intended line is critical to becoming an exceptional putter. Use the Two Coin Gate drill to improve your line. The steps of this drill are:
- Place two coins, about the width of a golf ball apart, on a level part of the putting surface.
- From six inches away, putt balls between the coins without letting the balls touch either coin.
- Continue putting balls until you can successfully putt ten balls in a row between the two coins. Do not worry about putting technique. Simply focus on putting balls between the two coins.
- Once you have completed the drill successful from this distance, increase the distance from the two coins and repeat the drill.
What About Reading the Break
The drills discussed in this article do not worry about reading the break. If you master these three drills you will discover that your ability to read breaks naturally improves. Remember, the break needed for a putt depends on your ability to start the ball on the desired line at the right pace. The amount of break you choose to make the putt is up to you.