How Can I Stop Three-Putting?

For some reason, the way golfers learn contradicts most other learning experiences. Golfers pick up the game in a rigid and dogmatic. The most fun way to learn anything is through feel, instinct and trial and error. Try this with your putting.

The Stiff Practice Drill

I hate it when I see people practicing with this drill. If you have ever placed clubs on the ground and swung the putter between them, then you have concentrated too much on the putterhead and the stroke and not enough on the ball and hole. You need to work on holing putts not on a straight stroke.

The Dustbin Lid Myth

Tying to stop the ball in a dustbin lid space around the hole from distance is not helpful – bin it. Why would you develop a mindset and practice a thought that is about missing the hole – the direct opposite of what you want to achieve. Dustbin lids can be big – who fancies endless five-footers back!

The problem is that the dustbin lid is not specific enough. The objective of the game is to hole putts and the lid is bigger than the hole. A much better practice and drill is to hit putts to a tee-peg, trying to roll the ball next to it. This is a specific, accurate target, which will make the hole look huge when you come to putting for real.

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Look At The Hole

To help with judging putts, to make your putting more natural and feel based, have a practice session sinking balls while keeping your eyes trained on the hole. Don’t let them shift, just concentrate on the hole and feeling the shot in your stroke before playing.

Putting Blind

Head down to the putting green with a friend. Give yourself a sizeable length putt then shut your eyes. Putt the ball at the hole, with your eyes closed throughout, then guess where the ball finished – two-feet long; five-feet short etc. Ask your partner the exact distance.

Now putt again, making the natural adjustment in your stroke. By depriving your body of one sense, you heighten the others – in this instance, depriving sight improves your feel for the putt. In a short practice session, you can sharpen your feel massively.

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A To B Distance Control

1) Place two clubs on the ground, one five feet away from you, the other on a similar line 25 to 30 feet away.

2) Putt a ball two feet beyond the first club. You are looking to work on your feel and touch, so don’t overhit the putt.

3) Putt the next ball so that it rolls two feet beyond the first, followed by a third ball beyond the second.

4) Continue to putt until the balls are level with the second club on the ground. Every time you over or under hit a putt, start again, keeping count of how many putts it takes you to get from A to B.

5) As you keep trying to break your record, you will improve your touch without tweaking your technique.

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Be Specific

When you are holing a short putt, pick a very specific point at the back of the hole for your target, such as a tiny blade of grass at the back of the cup. If you miss this specific point the ball will still drop.

Routine Practice

Try this quick drill to build that confidence and remind you that you never miss short putts. Place four balls three feet from the hole at the points of the compass. Hole each in turn but run through your pre-putt routine for all the putts – taking every one seriously.

Pace Perfect

What’s the perfect pace for a putt to drop? It is different for an uphill and downhill putt. When putting uphill, make the ball to hit that blade of grass at the back of the hole, giving you a positive stroke. On downhill putts, let the ball roll in over the edge of the hole, not rattle through the back.

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