There’s 20 minutes to go to the off – how do you best fill your time? These short game drills using tee pegs and a towel are as good as way as any to hone your touch on and around the greens just before you head out…

For these drills you need just a towel and some tees - things you will have with you anyway

For these drills you need just a towel and some tees – things you will have with you anyway

1) Pre-round confidence boost

If you don’t have time to head to the range pre-round I would urge you to spend 15-20 minutes around the chipping and putting greens. This little fast track of short game drills using a towel and some tee pegs will really get your feel going, sharpen up your technique and, most importantly, give you a pre-round confidence boost.

2) See how they land

It’s very important that you become aware of what happens when your ball lands without the added pressure of a 4.25in hole. Place the towel on the green at your landing point, take two or three different chipping clubs and try to land the ball on the towel, or close to it, to see how far it releases.

Use a towel as a target to gauge how the ball reacts on landing

Use a towel as a target to gauge how the ball reacts on landing

It’s about touch, feel, and getting used to the technique required for the greens, as many things can affect how far the ball releases, for example, mowing height and weather conditions. The same drill works equally well from the bunker. Don’t be put off that it’s a tiny target, as landing anywhere near the towel is good. Again, this focuses your attention on the landing spot, rather than the hole and the flag all the time.

3) Familiarise yourself

While in the bunker, take time to really test the sand. Even if it’s your normal course, they may have topped it up, or it may be wet. If it’s not your normal club, type and depth of sand can vary significantly from course to course, and you need to be able to feel that through your feet and through the impact of some practice shots.

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Take time to test out the sand before you head out

4) Hone your distance

You can also use the towel as a larger pre-round target for longer-range lag putts. Putt two or three balls from different distances trying to run them on to the towel. The towel is a decent-sized visual aid, which will help you build confidence in your distance control pre-round more than putting to a tiny target.

5) Mind games

For short putts, I suggest you actually narrow the target by using tee pegs at the entrance to the hole to make it a tougher test. This is all about building confidence too, but in a different way.

If you can putt two or three balls dead centre through the narrow gate before heading to the tee, the hole should seems bigger when you get to the 1st green – a psychological trick to make you feel a lot better about the first knee-knocker you face!