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Let's talk about putting

Published June 02. 2012 09:01AM

This week I wanted to talk about putting. I realize that this is not very exciting, but consider a fact. If you played a par 72 golf course and shot even par, hitting every green in regulation, 50% of your shots would be putts. Now factor in the thought that tour players do not hit eighteen greens, yet they still shoot under par. How do they do that? With excellent putting skills, that is how.

Tour players do not practice putting, they practice feel. In an average PGA Tour Event, the entire field on the PGA tour makes only 31% of their putts from ten to fifteen feet. This statistic should lend you an understanding of how hard putting is for the best players in the world. So how do they practice?

Tour players practice learning feel. There are some very specific drills you can do on carpet in your home that will improve your feel dramatically. The first one you want to do is to hit three golf balls with your eyes closed, trying to get the golf balls to stop rolling in the same spot. Without your eyes you will have to learn to feel the stroke and the rhythm of a solid putting stroke.

The second drill is to putt one golf ball about fifteen feet away and then try to hit successive putts exactly three feet closer than the last one you struck, eventually working your putt down to three feet in length. If you do this one correctly you will have a golf ball at fifteen, twelve, nine, six, and three feet, in a perfect line. I warn you in advance that this drill can make you insane, so do not do this drill for very long.

A final drill requires a putting green. Try to putt three golf balls as close to the fringe as possible without touching it, all from about ten feet away. This will teach you touch and feel.

Notice that not one of these drills has to do with getting the ball in the hole. That is reserved for the golf course. More of your putts will go in if your feel and touch improve. Contrary to popular opinion you cannot force the ball in the hole, but you can develop better feel and touch.

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