by Frank Peter
The following Golf Lesson is reprinted with permission from the "Golf Beginner Guide", a full 272 page resource for Golf Beginners. For only $29.50 you get an incredible amount of invaluable tips, lessons and advice - great value for money. Click the above link to find out more!
A one-foot putt is just as important as a 300-yard drive. It's also interesting to think that you can hit every green in regulation and not score well--if your putts aren't dropping. Putting is perhaps the most important ingredient to scoring well. On the PGA Tour, everyone hits the ball virtually the same, but it is the player who putts the best each week who wins the tournament. Here is a list of drills to help you sink a few more putts and, in the process, shave a few strokes off your score. Good luck!
Use the Flagstick
Most golfers have trouble keeping their putteron the proper line during the stroke. Try using a flagstick to help define the path of your putting stroke. Simply lay a flagstick flat on the putting surface and line it up with the hole. Now, set the heel of your putter against the flagstick. This works as a guide when you stroke the putt. Next, pay close attention to the putter, and maintain smooth contact with the flag on both the forward and backstrokes. By doing this, you'll be able to see exactly where your stroke goes off line and correct it.
Start with a Roll
Putting a perfect, true roll on the ball starts with ball position. The mistake many players make is that they play the ball too far back in the stance. This causes a descending stroke and can make the ball bounce initially--rather than roll. To get the ball rolling smoothly, play the ball further up in the stance--off the inside of your front foot. You 'll also notice that the proper position is under the left eye (right eye for left-handed players).
Close an Eye
Lifting the head not only hurts the full swing, but the putting stroke as well. Close the left eye (right eye for left-handed players), take a few practice strokes, then address the ball. Doing this makes it tough to see the hole--but you shouldn't need to. Just focus on the ball with only the right eye (left eye for left-handed players) until you see the putter contact it. Using this drill trains you to keep the head and body still throughout the stroke.
Force a Bigger Follow-Through
Under pressure, short putts cause tension in a golfer's stroke. To maintain a good stroke, accelerate through the putt. Often times, the backstroke becomes too big, causing deceleration on the forward stroke. To cure this, place a second ball about six inches behind the ball you are going to hit. Then, on the backstroke, try not to strike the second ball. By restricting the backstroke, you'll force a bigger, more accelerated follow-through.
Don't Break Your Wrists
Stick a tee into the end of your putter grip. As you take your stroke, make sure that the tee stays even or slightly ahead of the putter head throughout the stroke. If the head passes the tee, chances are you've broken your wrists and opened the door for inconsistency. On long putts, this is more difficult to do as they can require some wrist break. Therefore, use this drill for shorter, mid-range putts.
Surround the Putting Hole
Find a hole on the practice green that has some slope to it. Place several balls around the hole, approximately two feet away. Now go around the circle, concentrating on making each putt and noticing how each putt breaks a little differently depending on its position. Challenge yourself to make each putt before graduating to moving the balls to three feet away. If you miss one, start again. Remember, the more times you see yourself knock in these four-footers in practice, the stronger your confidence will become.
Putt to a Quarter
Place a quarter on the putting green and practice putting to it. By using a smaller target, you will refine your ability to aim for and find the center of the cup. This is also a good drill for developing the feel of speed on longer putts.
Putting is extremely important to lowering your scores. The next time you work on your game, devote as much time to putting as you do hitting balls. You'll be happy with the results.