There’s no question that missing putts is the easiest way to put a bloated number on the scorecard. A great drive and a fantastic approach shot can be nullified by a couple of missed putts, and the next thing you know, you are putting a bogey or worse instead of a birdie or par. Sure, it’s frustrating, but like anything, to get better you have to practice.
The problem is that when most golfers practice, they want to go out and bang as many range balls with their driver as they can before a round. If they simply spent some of that time on the practice green, they would quickly see improved scores. The green seems to be the mortal enemy for many golfers, and it doesn’t have to be. Here are three great putting drills to add to your arsenal that will help you become a better putter and consequently, a better golfer.
1. Around the World
Also known as the “clock drill”, this exercise requires consistency and focus. Start off by finding some space on the putting green, pick a cup to shoot towards and set up four golf balls around it. The balls should be the same distance from the cup and the goal is to make all four before moving the balls back a foot and trying to sink each one from that distance. If you miss, you have to start over. The drill simulates the pressure you can sometimes feel on greens during a round, and thus help you prepare for it.
The repetition of the drill also helps with those short putts that are infuriating when missed. Sinking four balls in a row from different particular distances will get you comfortable with those distances, and will increase your confidence when facing those putts on the course. When using this drill, remember to start from a distance where you frequently miss putts on the course. Beginners will want to start closer in, while better putters should start further back. Begin the drill from a distance where you are less comfortable and keep practicing until you are able to make all four putts.
2. The Coin Drill
This is a drill that you can practice at home. Just make sure you are on a flat surface where the ball will roll straight. Like the previous drill, this exercise is designed to help you make those must-have short putts while promoting accuracy. It’s also very easy to set up. All you need is a coin or a ball marker, a golf ball, and your favorite flat stick. Just set the coin about a foot in front of the ball and practice putting over it. The goal here is to go right over the top of the coin. Since the coin is a small target, it requires a high degree of accuracy, even from short range.
The main point of this drill is to help you hit the ball in the middle of the putter face. If you miss slightly, the ball will roll over the edge of the coin, or miss completely. The more times you hit the ball perfectly square on the face, the more you will see the ball roll over the middle of the coin. Again, repetition is paramount if you want to see fast improvement. Hit the putt again and again until you can consistently beat the drill.
3. Long Putt Points Drill
Most players should spend the majority of their time on the shorter putts (ten feet and in), but that doesn’t mean they should disregard the long putts. Putts from 20 feet and beyond create major problems for many players. These lengthy attempts often result in three or even four-putts that can kill someone’s score and ruin their confidence. That’s why the goal with this drill, besides trying to actually drain the putt, is to put the ball within a three-foot range for a makeable two-putt. If you can consistently two-putt from 20 feet and further, while occasionally making one, you will be able to shave several strokes off your score right away.
What’s great about this drill is that it also involves a point system that allows you to track your progress and level of improvement over time. If you make the putt, give yourself three points. If you put it within the three-foot circle, give yourself one. You can even create your own point system that rewards you for making longer putts, like 40 and 60 footers. Make sure to keep track of you score, so that the next time you use the drill, you will be able to see if you are getting better.