Three Ways to Improve Your Putting
By: Juan Ramirez
Improved putting is where you will really start to see strokes falling off your scorecard. Drive for Show, Putt for Dough isn’t a crazy golfer saying, it’s reality. Almost anyone can stand up at the tee box and hit a monster drive. But, only the mentally tough and fundamentally sound can make necessary putts under pressure. Let’s talk about three drills that will really help with those fundamentals.
1. The 3-5-7 Putting Drill
This drill is my favorite because it’s quick and gets immediate results! On average, PGA-professionals make 50-percent of their putts from inside 10 feet. In almost 16 years of teaching and being on the course with amateur players, this is the one thing I see most of my students struggle with. In my experience, I would say most amateurs are less than 20-percent accurate from inside 10 feet.
The Drill: Setup the balls from 3, 5 and 7 feet from multiple angles to a hole (see photo 1). Take about 10 balls from each point and work on your tempo. Remember…just because the putt gets longer, the stroke doesn’t get “faster.” Think “longer = smoother.” Faster strokes lead to a “jab” or “punchy” hit, causing a miss and irregular ball speeds, which results in extra strokes on your scorecard. As you progress through this drill, vary the order of the putts, to prevent you from getting into a rhythm. The result should be confidence from these distances and a solid putting foundation.
2. Lag Putting and Its Purpose
As we make our journey down this road of golf, hitting the green often is a task all on its own. I won’t be the first Golf Professional to tell you that the short game is a key factor to the game of golf. You’ll often see Touring Pros using this technique to gain a feel from longer distances.
The Drill: Much like the one mentioned above, but instead of 3-7 feet, this drill is set to distances of 25 feet, 35 feet, and 50 feet. After marking out the distances with three balls, you’ll begin with the 25-foot mark, then 50-foot mark and finish with 35-foot mark. The idea is to avoid finding a rhythm because this will more closely relate to what happens on the course. From each mark, you will putt all three balls to within 3 feet from the hole, and after you putt all three balls within the 3-foot range, you can move onto the next mark. You’ll keep doing this drill until the task is completed. Remember the idea is to have a feel, tempo, and control. This could be the difference between saving par or making double-bogey.
3. Ball Position
Ball position the root of evil in this game. Debates can go on and on about this topic, but we can agree that hitting down or up on the ball while putting is generally a bad thing! I feel everyone should look at their ball position with a putter.
To figure out the proper ball placement, take your normal stance and make a series of practice putts and find the bottom of the putter’s arc (see photo 2). In general, the ball placement should be middle of stance to slightly forward of the middle. This helps to avoid adding extra spin. When putting, spin is bad because it leads to missing on both left and right sides of the cup and causes distance control to become inconsistent.
All three drills have something different to offer depending on what level of experience you have with putting and what you’re struggling with. Also, all three of the above drills can easily be practiced at your local golf course putting green or in here in our short game area at Precision Golf Academy. If you want a one-on-one Putting Lesson, Putter Fitting or Full Short-Game Analysis, come visit me at Precision Golf Academy. Click here or call 832-288-4863 today!