Pre-round putting drills checklist
* Find the pace of the green without putting to a hole
* Try to hole ten consecutive three-footers to build confidence
* Practise the pre-shot routine you aim to use on every putt
1) Find the pace without the hole
Putts make up 41 per cent of your shots in a typical round, so a pre-round warm-up on the putting green is key if you’re to get the right pace from the off out on the course. Start by checking out all the fundamentals – is your balance good; are you holding the club well; are you lining up properly; do you feel comfortable over the ball?
Then it’s about getting the all-important pace, and I would recommend starting your putting practice by forgetting the hole and playing to a more general target 10-15ft away. A good drill to hone your pace putting is to play three balls looking to leave all three more or less touching each other. So hit the first putt, then try to copy that stroke and strike with the other two balls. Do this four or five times until you’ve got the pace more or less automatically before moving on to the more specific target of a hole.
2) A feel for distance
Once you’re happy with your pace and how you’re striking your putts, stage two introduces that more specific target. With the same three balls, the goal now is to two-putt from mid-length just to get a real feel for the distance.
You’re not necessarily trying to hole them, but rather just get them nice and near to the hole so you can groove your distance control. Then move on to another hole from similar distance and repeat the exercise two or three times.
3) Holing out
After finding the pace and getting a feel for the distance, you should now spend some time on holing out well to get your confidence up before the round starts. Measure out a putter’s length on a pretty straight putt, pop a tee in the ground and work on holing ten consecutive putts from that range.
4) Pre-shot routine
Finally, it’s time to work on the pre-shot routine you’re going to use on all 18 holes you play that day. For me, it’s about really trying to ‘feel’ the putt, so after I’ve read it, checked the line and popped the ball down ready, I’ll take two practice strokes looking to replicate the stroke I’m going to use on the actual putt.
Your routine may vary from this, but the key is to make sure that whatever your routine is, you stick to it for all 18 holes out on the course.