October 17th, 2012 by Tyler Pringle
Low handicap players understand the importance of a good short game, especially on the putting green. Professional players have exceptional ball striking skills. In fact, a tour event is basically a putting contest. The best putter each week wins the tournament. With the proper techniques, everyone can develop into a solid putter. The following putting drills are designed to improve your ability to hole the ball on the green.
Make the short putts. Nothing is more frustrating than hitting a great drive, placing the approach shot on the green and missing a two-foot par putt and walking away with bogey. Practice, practice, and practice from short ranges. The clock drill is excellent reinforcement.
Begin by placing three balls in a line at three, six, and nine feet from the hole similar to the twelve, three, six and nine position on a clock. The goal is to make all twelve in a row. If you miss any putt, then go back to the beginning and start over.
Improve your putting from long range. Give yourself the opportunity to make short putts inside 5 feet from the hole. Percentages that you’ll make a putt dramatically decrease the farther away you are from the hole. The ladder drill is designed to improve putting from longer distances.
Place a tee in the ground in a line 10 feet, 20 feet, 30 feet and 40 feet away. In this drill, you are attempting to control the distance you hit each putt. The ladder drill begins by hitting a putt to the first tee, which is 10 feet away. Next, hit a 20-footer, than 30-footer followed by a 40-foot putt. The idea is to get the ball to stop as close to each tee as possible. The next step is to theoretically close the ladder. From the first tee, hit a 30-foot putt, followed by 20-foot putt followed by a 10-foot putt to the final tee. At the conclusion, you have successfully opened and closed the ladder. The drill continues by going through the same sequence from the opposite direction. If the first putts were all uphill, you are now faced with a series of difficult downhill putts. Once you can successfully navigate this drill, your feel on the greens should improve.
Many amateurs push or pull the putt off line. This is caused from an in-to-out or out-to-in swing path. The following drill will help develop a consistent path. Find a flat area on the green and place two clubs on the ground wide enough to place the putter head behind the ball. Swing the putter between the two clubs and hit the ball. If the putter hits any of the clubs you are not swinging the putter down the target line. Make sure the putter head stays low to the ground and follows through.