If you had a penny for every time someone told you that putting is the secret to lowering your handicap, well then you would have a whole lotta pennies. It’s a cliché but it’s an undeniable truth that putting will lower your handicap. Your short game is the most important part of your golf game. Next time you’re on a South Florida golf course, think of these putting techniques the pros use and do a few putting drills on the practice green.
Professional Putting Drills
Practice makes permanent, so let’s begin with the practice you need to putt like a pro. The three keys to better putting are assessment, distance, and target lines. Get all three of these putting fundamentals right, and we guarantee you will lower your handicap by at least a double digit in the first few weeks.
Assessment (Reading the Green)
If you want to putt like a pro, you must know how to read the green like a pro. And it’s not voodoo, there is a tried and true system to read a green properly.
- Tune out all the other noises, especially your golf buddies who are making fun of your new green assessment method. You’ll get your revenge at the club house when they are paying for drinks.
- Walk from your ball position to the hole and pay attention to your feet.
- If you feel more weight on your right foot, then there is a right leaning slope, and the ball will break right.
- Count how many steps you take, that will come in handy when you calculate distance.
- Stand at your ball and look at the line you walked. Image the path your ball is going to follow and how much break your ball will encounter.
- Look for water obstacles around the green, this indicates water runoff. This is an indication that the green likes to lean that way because water always finds the easier path.
- Routine is essential so read the green every time you putt. You can read all the putting techniques the pros use articles you want, but you must put it into action.
The more time you practice assessing the green the better. Patience is key!
Now on to the practical side of putting drills. You’re going to have to put in the time to master distance putting. Don’t underestimate putts from any distance. Both short and long putts are equally important techniques to lower your handicap.
These are the best putting drills for serious golfers.
- Ladder Putting Drill (Long Distance Putting Stroke Drill)
- Place markers or tees in a straight line at 10, 15, 20 and 30 feet away from the hole or marker.
- Putt from the 10-foot mark and work your way backwards. Start over if you don’t get the ball within 1 foot of the hole.
- As you progress you should be sinking balls. Change the target from one foot from the whole, to 6 inches and then to sinking.
- Reverse Ladder (Speed Putting Drill)
- Place marker or tee 30 feet from starting position.
- Putt your ball to the 30 feet marker (get within 1 foot).
- Now, putt your next ball 1 – 2 feet closer to than your last ball.
- Repeat until the last ball you putt is just 2 feet in front of you.
- Different Strokes for Different Folks (Speed and Short Putting Drill)
- Position yourself within 5 feet from the hole.
- Putt your first ball so that it will reach the edge of the hole and then slowly topple into the hole.
- Putt your second ball so that it hits the back wall of the hole, pops up and goes into the hole.
- Out your third ball so that it glides into the hole at the pace you want.
- Ball-O-Rama (Short Putting Drill)
- You’ll need a Hacky Sack, golf ball, a small tennis ball and a large tennis ball.
- Line each ball up the same distance from the hole.
- Putt each ball in starting with the Hacky Sack, gold ball, small tennis ball and finally the large tennis ball.
Remember, judge the distance from the position of the ball, not from your club swing distance. Many amateur golfers make this mistake.
And finally, the target line. Combining both the assessment and distance drills with increase your ability to understand and create a great target line
- Find your putting line by standing close to the hole. Although there is lots of debate about judging your target line from the hole or from your ball, we say hole every time. The reason is that the first third of your putt won’t matter because speed will ensure that your ball will go straight. The last 2 thirds of your line are important. Judge from the lower half and close to the hole.
- Ty Webb (Target Line Variation)
- Serious golfers will remember Ty Webb’s putting drill from Caddyshack.
- Drop your balls at random distances across the green.
- Make in every shot into the whole, or start again.
- Bonus points for mumbling “nananana-na-na-na”.
- Ball Tag (Speed and Target Line Variation)
- Place 5 balls at random positions across the green.
- Use your first ball to hit your second.
- Then your second to your third.
- Eventually, hit your last ball into the hole.
- Line it Up (Target Line Consistency)
- Place two club on the grow far enough apart to fit your ball and your putter.
- Ensure that the clubs are parallel and aimed in the line you want to follow.
- Swing your putter and if it touches any of the clubs on either side, you know your putting stance is negatively affecting your line.
- Work until you can swing without touching the other clubs.
Speed affects your target line, so practice the speed and distance drills to improve your target line.
Practice Putting at Home
Nothing beats practicing on the course, but you can practice putting at home if you are low on time.
You can pick up the best indoor putting matts online these days.
- Birdie Ball – Perfect for short game. You can purchase a variety of grains. We recommend the high down grain and lowest stimp speed.
- Tour Links – Expensive but you can purchase some great longer greens with panels that influence break.
- Aliexpress – These are the cheap priced greens that imitate high end putting matts. You can find some great options here but remember you get what you paid for.
- A Local Golf Pro Shop – We’ve linked to our golf pro shop here. Stop in to chat to one of our golf pros and we can work with you to find a putting matt that you will like.
Remember, a good short game wins the round every time. We’ll see you on the greens!