Putting Advice For a Beer….

I’ve been thinking a lot about putting lately, for several reasons, so it was a cool surprise to get this question from Rob recently:

“Recently I have been trying the “Phil” method of putting 5′-10′ putts in a circle around the hole. On some of the big breaking putts we have here, I don’t even scare the hole. Before I totally lose my confidence, I return to straight putts which I can make 10 out of 10. Can you talk about different putting drills for us to do on the putting green? Thanks for all of the help, good luck with the rehab and the next Sam Adams is on me!”

I want all my putting drills to answer yes to 1 or more of the below questions: 

1.  Are they improving your skills of starting your ball on your intended line?
2.  Is it improving your ability to roll the ball at an optimal speed?
3.  Is it providing clear feedback?
4.  Is the drill competitive in nature?

So many drills are a waste of precious time on the putting green.  I’ve yet to meet anyone who enthusiastically spends enough time on the putting green.  

I’m not criticizing, rather I’m pointing out that what little time we do spend on the putting green better be spend with SUPER HIGH QUALITY DRILLS if we expect to get anything out of our training.  

Rob, 
Right now, I think the two drills you mentioned above are excellent.  Here’s how I would ‘kick them up a notch’ in terms of QUALITY. 

Begin your training by putting 4 foot straight putts (Golfers with handicaps over 8 should be doing this drill from 3 feet in most cases).  How many in a row can you make?  Spend 10-15 minutes creating new records of 4 footers in a row.  You can stop at 100 in a row if you would like….  The repetition of putting a straight putt is fantastic for motor learning.  You’re body will learn how to make A STROKE.  You’ll learn how to start your ball on your INTENDED LINE… 

Here’s how I would have you do the ‘Phil Drill’.  One day, work on putts from 4-10ft to a quarter or a ball marker.  You’re focus is on rolling the ball over the marker, but more so on DISTANCE CONTROL.  Yup, even on short putts, it’s critically important to roll the ball at a consistent speed.  Especially at your club, where the greens are severely sloped, it’s vitally important for this reason:  SPEED DETERMINED LINE!

So spend 20 minutes going around in a circle, putting putts from 4-10 feet with the intent of rolling the ball past the marker 4-15 inches past the hole with great consistency…..  As your speed control improves (and it will with this drill, because you will see all putts roll out rather than fall into the cup….), your skill of green reading will improve

The next day, putt ‘around the world’ from 4-5feet.  Take just 5 balls and ‘randomly’ toss them around the cup approximately 4-5 feet away*.  Now putt these 5 balls and repeat 10 times.  In my head, I like to keep track of how many out of 10 putts (or two reps) I make.  After 50 putts, figure out how many out of 50 you made.  Now you have a record (and a percentage of putts made) and you simply try to beat that record next time around.  If you can get up above 70% of makes, you’ll be putting great on the course!!!

Yikes, that was a bigger blog than I intended for this morning…. The good news is that just with these two drills, you’ll see big improvements on the green!  We’ll discuss how to finish up your putting training in the weeks to come. 

As for now, I’m done for the day….  And this blog was better than expected, so it will cost you at least 2 Sam Adams! 

*putt one ball from the STRAIGHT line.  Find a straight putt and place a tee near by so each run around the hole, you can putt one perfectly straight putt to make sure you stroke stays true!

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