As we all know, it doesn’t matter how long you can drive, if you can’t get it in the hole. All of us are not born with natural putting talent though. So how do we get better? Same way you get to Carnegie Hall – Practice, Practice, Practice. Just because there’s snow blanketing the ground ’round the country, it doesn’t mean your golf skills have to go cold too! Winter is the perfect time to practice and hone your basic golf skills. So here are 3 of my favorite putting drills that will help your short game.
1. Ultra Simple
For this drill, use either a 4ft (1.3m) yard stick or chalk line to learn to putt straight. Place the golf ball in the little hole on the far end of the stick. Putt balls so that they stay on the stick the whole time. Practice at different speeds. You can also use a chalk line/chalk box and snap a straight line for practice. The best part of this drill is you can do this practice at home or on the green.
2. Stay Square
Pick a target and make a straight-line lead to the target by placing a coin between the ball and your target. Directly on the same line, place a tee in the ground 12 to 15 inches behind the ball.
Take the putter back square until you strike the tee, then follow through so the head of the putter travels directly over the coin with a square face. Lots of practice will help resolve any tendencies to bring the putter off line during the back swing.
You can also practice single hand putting strokes this way. Try putting the first ball with only the right hand, the second ball with only the left hand, and the third with both hands, always with the focus solely on a square face.
3. Circular Putting Drills
These types of drills are mostly associated with Phil Mickelson. Basically, the golfer putts from short distances, typically no more than a few feet; the golfer tries to make a lot of putts in a row without missing; and if the golfer does miss, he or she starts over. Starting over when you miss will put pressure on you – this’ll help your nerves on the course. It’ll help fundamentals, technique, mechanics and most importantly focus.
Phil Mickelson’s Circle Putting Drill
1. Find a flat spot on the practice green around one cup.
2. Arrange 10 golf balls in a circle around the hole, each one three feet from the cup. (Hint: Most conventional putters are just shy of 36 inches in shaft length, so your putter is probably a good guide for measuring that three feet.)
3. Now start sinking those putts, working your way around the circle.
After you’ve made all 10, put down 10 more. Continue the process until you’ve made 100 3-foot putts in a row. If Mickelson misses, he starts over.
To reiterate what we said earlier, you don’t have to start out trying to make 100 putts in a row. Just make 10 in a row first. Once you have that down, make 20 in a row, and keep building.
Check out this video for some putting drills if you are a more “visual” type.
Here’s a great putting tip from Lefty himself!