Practice your Short Putts
Need work on your short putts? One of my favorite drills is to putt to a dime – it’s great for improving focus and concentration! Another favorite putting drill is to sink five in a row from one foot, then from two feet, then three feet, and so on. Miss one? Sorry, you have to start over! And you can’t go up in distance until you’ve made all five. That should occupy you until tee time.
Eye on a Dime
Feeling depressed over your putting? Here’s a simple drill that will put discipline back in your stroke. Place the ball atop a dime, then keep your eyes focused on the dime all the way through your stroke. Avoid the urge to follow the ball with your eyes immediately after impact – especially on short putts. Just watch for the dime, rather than following the ball with your eyes, head, and shoulders.
Three-foot putts can really mess with your mind if you let them. One strategy employed by one of the all time great putters, Seve Ballesteros, is to imagine a bullseye attached to the back of the cup. This image encourages you to accelerate the putter through to the hole and keep the clubface moving square to the hole. Try it!
Putt with Your Eyes Closed!
Can you play golf with your eyes closed? You’d be surprised. By practicing putts with your eyes shut, it’s easier to feel body movements. You should sense your shoulders working like a pendulum. Next thing, you’ll hear the ball hitting the bottom of the cup!
Keep Your Head Still!
A still head is crucial to solid contact and consistent putting. Focus on keeping your head still well after impact. Head movement causes the shoulders to open and your putter to cut across the ball. Also, try putting with your eyes closed. You’ll be amazed at the results!
The Toe is Your Best Friend
Downhill putts tend to be fast and difficult. Try doing what many pros do: Hit the ball on the toe of the putter, not on the sweetspot. This tends to “deaden” the jump on the ball and stops it from going way past the hole. Don’t do this on uphill putts though!
Bowl Your Way to Better Putting
Are you having trouble with putting distance control? Try rehearsing a few strokes without a putter while standing in a golf-like address position. Now, take a ball in your hand – or just imagine you are going to roll the ball toward the hole. When you think you have good feel for how hard to roll it, put the putter back in your hand and use the same motion to hit the ball.
Putt to the Pro Side of the Cup
When lining up breaking putts, pros will always favor the “high” side of the hole rather than the “low” side. The law of averages tells you that as a putt is breaking near the hole, gravity works in your favor if the ball is above the hole. If the ball is breaking away on the low side, gravity works against you. It’s pretty simple – remember the pro side, not the low side, and you’ll make more putts!
Reading the Green
Reading the green is an animal all to itself, so try and remember: The break and the speed are the two factors you need to “read” when you read the green. Taking a few putts on the practice green before beginning play can give you an advantage to reading the speed of the greens on a particular day at a particular course. It’s better to make adjustments on the practice green than on the first hole. When reading a green, get behind the ball and squat. You can see the contours of the green this way. Look at the putt from the side (the low-side preferably). An alternate view can help you better gauge distance. Watch your partners’ chips and putts. How does the ball act on the green? When you putt, whether the result is good or bad, pay attention and mentally record what took place. You will process this later as you think back over your day’s play.
Keep the eye over the ball
When you putt two things are vital: Your eye must be directly over the ball, and you must stroke the ball to make it rotate end-over-end. The ball can only “see” the line when your eyes are directly over it. If they are not, your eyes will see one line while the ball “sees” another. When your eyes are over the ball, you have a much better chance of stroking it accurately and imparting end-over-end rotation. End-over-end rotation means that the ball is contacted so squarely that it rolls “over itself” on the same vertical axis, there being no side-spin as there inevitably will be when the ball is cut or pulled or mis-putted in some other manner. If a putt stroked with end-over-end rotation hits a corner of the cup, it will not spin off and will usually drop.