During the Abu Dhabi Championship we spent the day on the practice putting green. The first big tournament of the year, this was our chance to see how tour players practise putting – what drills they use, how long they spend honing their stroke in preparation of the Abu Dhabi Championship.
Morten Orum Madsen
He used the ‘progression drill’. The aim is to go up and down the line of tees holing every putt. If you miss one putt, you start from the beginning. There is a curvature on the set up of the pegs to ensure every putt breaks slightly differently. This then becomes a test of concentration and routine too! Hi caddie captures some video footage of his stroke to be examined afterwards.
The classic ‘4 peg’ drill that requires precise accuracy and a consistent pendulum in the swing so the putter and then the ball goes through a gateway of pegs. Note also the 3-iron is laid a head’s width away from his feet to help with alignment. Also worth noting that he uses a towel to stand on, so as not to ruin the grass as he’ll be standing there for a very long time!
Noren uses a mirror to check his eyeline. If your eyes are above the ball at address your read from behind will match up with what you see at set up. There are also two ball bearings at the end of the mirror, acting as a gateway through which to hit the ball.
The Englishman uses a simple drill – a piece of string between two sticks as a guide for alignment and swing path. Even though the putt breaks slightly off the right, he is able to set up perfectly square to his target line.
He uses a training aid that helps the path of the stroke. It is designed to ensure his pendulum motion is fluid all the way to impact and into the follow through. The black line you can see in the video is a vital indicator to show how the putter should be moving.
The T-bar used by the Englishman ensures his forearms are in line at address. It also prevents any breaking of the wrists through the stroke, allowing for a much more consistent strike and roll.
Liang uses the same rope drill as Poulter – except there’s two this time! Bottom rope is there to make sure the swing is not deviating off line and helps him keep that pendulum motion.
The ‘spiral drill’ is a test of mental strength and routine. The pegs are placed, spiraling round the hole at different distances – varies the break of each putt. There is roughly 3ft between each peg. Starting at one end, you are required to go all the way round and then back again – miss one putt, start again!
Four pegs are placed either side of the putter head with the ball in the middle. This focuses the player on finding the perfect strike and keeps the downswing consistent – if its not, you will keep hitting the sides of the pegs.
Another simple, putting through the gate drill. The difference here is the gate for the ball can be placed further from the putter to increase the difficulty!