No PGA Tour player has ever won a tournament putting poorly, and nothing is more frustrating for amateurs than playing a decent round of golf only to shoot a lousy score because of poor putting. Making the most of our practice time and practicing with a purpose is the fastest way to improve this aspect of our game.
On average roughly one third of our strokes in a round are with our putter, yet nobody puts one third of our practice time into their putting. You will find when you three putt a green most of the time you left the putt a couple feet short or hit it well past the hole. Rarely does a golfer misread a putt by more than a couple of feet the problem is more often than not in the speed at which we hit the putt.
With longer putts, golfers look at the break first; this is backwards thinking to putt successfully. The speed at which we hit the putt will always effect how much break there will be. The harder I hit the putt the less break I have to play, the softer I hit the putt the more break I have to play. Controlling speed is something we have to constantly work on. The best drill I have found for working on speed is as follows:
Go out to the practice putting green with three golf balls. Find a spot on the edge of the green right where the fringe starts. Then stand about 8-10 feet away from the spot you picked on the
fringe. Now, you are going to roll each of the golf balls to that spot on the fringe that you picked out. You want to get the golf balls to stop as close to the fringe as possible. When you are done with that, go pick up the balls and return to the same spot you were just standing in. Now do the same thing only this time close your eyes while you are rolling the golf balls.
Closing your eyes will actually help you develop a better feel with your other senses. When you have done this drill from 10 feet move back to 20 feet then back to 30 feet.
This drill will help give you a sense of what it feels like to hit a putt a certain distance. As we develop this feel our number of three putts will reduce significantly.
Head Golf Professional, The Winston Golf Club
BA Psychology/Sociology University of Calgary