3 Drills In 15 Minutes To Putt Better
By Kevin Kihslinger
There are 4 keys to great putting- green reading, proper aim, starting the ball online and speed control. Each key or skill needs to be practiced. When I watch most amateurs practice they are rarely working on all 4 skills and I often wonder if their practice is helping or hurting. This summer follow the drills below and start lowering your scores with better putting.
Alignment Aid: Eyeline putting mirror, putting strings or chalk line- something that assures aim.
Yard stick: Or any tool that can measure the length of the stroke back and through.
Tees and Ball Mark: A handful of tees and a ball mark that can be fully pushed into the ground.
Drill 1: The Gate- 5 minutes
Using the alignment aid set up to a 5-foot putt. Place two tees just over a ball width apart and 6 inches in front of the ball creating a gate for the ball to travel through. Consistently rolling the ball through the gate will develop a square face at impact and improve the path the putter travels on. Having a 90% success rate is a great goal to shoot for.
Drill 2: The Ladder- 5 minutes
Place 4 tees on the green at 10-foot increments and use both the alignment aid and yard stick. Start with putting to the 40-foot tee and working your way back to the 10-foot tee. The goal is to get within two feet of the tee. Work your way up and down the ladder. As you do this pay attention to the length of the stroke back and through. You are looking for about a 1 to 1 ratio. The more putts you hit the better sense you will get on how long back and through your stroke needs to be for each length putt. The key will be to be consistent with this stroke length, which will lead to developing a consistent tempo. Consistent length of stroke and tempo are the keys to speed control.
Drill 3: Mark Your Spot- 5 minutes
Reading greens is an underrated skill and not practiced enough. The biggest issue is players rarely know if they misread the green, misjudged the speed, or if they started the putt offline. To help learn if you are actually reading greens correctly you have to take the speed and off line variable out of the equation. Work on hitting 20 to 30 foot putts, first read the green, then set up the alignment aid to where you think you want to the ball to start and then put the ball mark two inches in front of your ball. Your goal is to run the putt about a foot past the hole. If you hit the mark and hit the ball at the right speed you will learn if you read the break correctly. Make sure you stay at the same putt until you hit the right speed, putts short or too far past won’t give you an accurate judgment of the read.
Practicing these 3 drills a couple times a week will help you become a great putter by mid-summer.