Pre round putting drills
Never start your putting practice by hitting 12 footers towards a hole; nothing will threaten your confidence more than missing a succession of these.
Instead, aim at a spot 10ft away, hit five balls and try to get them to finish as close as possible to each other.
Keep repeating this until you feel your stroke and distance control are spot on. Only once you’re ready should you move on to the following drills.
There are two distinct elements to being a good putter. Firstly, you need to be able to hole out nervelessly under pressure from close range.
Secondly, you need your lag putting to be spot on for distance. If you can roll 30-plus footers up dead more often than not, you’ll take pressure off the rest of your game.
That’s why I like this dustbin-lid drill. Using my putter I mark a circle around the hole, as shown, and then walk 30ft away.
From here, the aim is to hit 10 consecutive putts within the dustbin lid. Sounds easy, but if you miss, you should start again from zero. This will add an important shred of pressure to your practice.
Here is a drill that I always set my players. Simply mark out a putter’s length from the hole, put a tee peg in the ground and try to hole 25 consecutive putts.
Again, it sounds easy, but the nearer you get to the magic number, the harder it will become. You’ll be able to call on this experience as you try to make knee-knocking three-footers in competition.
If you get to 25, why not carry on? One of my pupils once holed 1,000 consecutive three-footers. Impressive effort!
Birdie putt practice
Another area of the game on the greens that is worthy of your attention is those ‘makeable’ mid-range putts.
Make one or two of these a round, and it will really help your scoring average. I’ve put tee pegs in the ground at eight, nine, 10, 11 and 12ft from the hole.
The aim is to hit five putts from the first tee. Starting at 8ft, once you hole two, you can move on to the next tee.
As with the other drills, there is a little element of pressure created by the test. Trust me, this will really pay off when you are out there performing under pressure.