Best Putting Drills

By Contributing Writer

The quickest way to improve your golf score is to improve your short game. And the quickest way to improve your short game is to make the flat stick the best club in the bag.
If you are serious about your game and improving your golf score, time on the putting green is a must. Since putting practice is a bit less exciting, put your time to the most effective use---work on your stroke but bring a level of focus and competition to your practice time.
The bottom line is a putt from 6 feet will count the same number of strokes as a majestic drive.

Practice Putting

On the practice green, focus on three elements: a square club-face at impact, turning those dreaded 6- to 8-footers into a strength and developing your lag putting skills (eliminating the other nightmare, three putting).
Flat Stroke
Use the tee-coin drill to work on ensuring the face of your putter stays square to the target line. Pick a target and make a straight-line lead to the target by placing a coin between the ball and your target. Directly on the same line, place a tee in the ground 12 to 15 inches behind the ball.
Take the putter back square until you strike the tee, then follow through so the head of the putter travels directly over the coin with a square face. Continuous repetition of your putting stroke using these two extra aids will help remove any natural tendencies to bring the putter off line during the back swing.
This is also a great set-up to use when practicing single hand putting strokes. Try putting the first ball with only the right hand, the second ball with only the left hand, and the third with both hands, always with the focus solely on a square face.

Pressure Drill

Spend time developing touch from greater distances. When practicing it is far better to shift the objective from making putts to putting a specific distance.
Place a ball at some point on the green then in 4-foot intervals (use your sand wedge to estimate) place eight tees, one at 4 feet, one at 8, one at 12, etc., with the tees forming a straight line path 1 foot to the right of the target ball. You will now have tees giving you 4 foot intervals beginning with the ball and moving outward 32 feet from the ball in the center.
Dropping 30-40 balls, start from the tee at 32 feet and putt to the ball in the center. Putt until you have four balls short of the ball you placed in the middle but beyond the first tee that forms a line 4 feet from the ball. The goal is to use the ball as a target but the objective is to lag four balls within the first 4-foot interval.
Establish a goal of consecutive putts made from 4 or 5 feet. Start with a goal of 20.
Move 4 to 5 feet from the cup (select a hole with no break) and begin stroking putts--you must make 20 in a row. If you miss, you start your count over.
Once you get near your goal you will begin to feel the pressure associated with a must-make situation. Otherwise you will have to start the drill again.
This is a great drill to help create artificial pressure while turning those dreaded short putts into a true strength.
Three-two 4-10 Ladder Drill
This drill focuses on strengthening your short putting game and involves putts of 4 to 10 feet. Begin by placing a tee in the ground 4 feet from the cup and place tees in the ground at 1 intervals so that you have a final putt of about 10 feet.
Take three balls and make three straight 4 foot putts. Once you have made three straight, move to the tee at 5 feet and make three straight. If you miss, go back and start again. The first goal is to make nine straight, three from 4, three from 5, and three from 6 feet.
When you get to 7 feet, the objective becomes to make two of the three putts. Miss two or more and you start again with the 4-footer.

Lag Putting Drill

Spend time developing touch from greater distances. When practicing it is far better to shift the objective from making putts to putting a specific distance.
Place a ball at some point on the green then in 4-foot intervals (use your sand wedge to estimate) place eight tees, one at 4 feet, one at 8, one at 12, etc., with the tees forming a straight line path 1 foot to the right of the target ball. You will now have tees giving you 4 foot intervals beginning with the ball and moving outward 32 feet from the ball in the center.
Dropping 30-40 balls, start from the tee at 32 feet and putt to the ball in the center. Putt until you have four balls short of the ball you placed in the middle but beyond the first tee that forms a line 4 feet from the ball. The goal is to use the ball as a target but the objective is to lag four balls within the first 4-foot interval.
Once you have four in the furthest area, putt four into the next 4-foot interval closer to you (4 to 8 feet from the target ball). Repeat this process until you reach the marker at 20 feet.
As you become skilled, shift to different areas of the green so the putt involves some incline. Add a pressure component to the drill, by deciding you must place four straight in the desire range before moving to the next interval, and with each miss you return to the starting point.

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