Putting strike drills
One thing that every great putter has in common is an ability to strike each putt from the very centre of the blade.
The quality of the strike is just as important on the greens as it is with a full swing – get it wrong and a weak roll that drifts easily off line is the most likely outcome.
The problem is that with a putter in hand it’s often difficult to feel where the ball is being struck, so mistakes can be grooved over time without you realising.
Here’s a tried and tested drill that is used by world No.1 Tiger Woods that will help you stroke your putts solid more often. Use two tee pegs to create a gate just wider than your putter and hit a series of balls.
If you can get your putter flowing freely through the gate, you’re guaranteed a good strike. This will then translate into a strong roll. The gateway drill is great for highlighting and correcting any faults that may have crept in.
Strike and feel
Here’s another version of the gateway drill, but there’s a crucial difference that makes this well worth using too.
Attach two coins to the face of your putter using Blu-Tack or some folded sticky tape. They should be just wide enough apart to leave a space for the ball.
Now hit a series of putts. The key difference here is that you can’t see the gate as clearly. This will test how effective the natural mechanics of your stroke are at delivering consistently sweet contacts.
As you’ll not be able to steer the putter into the right position, you’ll see how effective your stroke has become. This will help every area of your putting but particularly your lag putting.
This is another great way to test your strikes. Use a piece of Blu-Tack or sticky tape to attach a small coin to the very centre of your putter (a five-pence piece is ideal).
Get the stroke right and the ball will come out beautifully; get it wrong and the ball will shoot off in the wrong direction. This drill will immediately highlight any flaws in the precision of your striking.
One of the main reasons amateurs struggle with their putting is that tension gets in the way of the stroke, destroying its natural rhythm.
Many tour pros will hit one-handed putts in practice to help with this recurring problem. By taking one hand off the putter you should start to develop a more fluid stroke.
Why not try some of the other drills on this page one-handed? This is a real test of your mechanics, and as you start to get used to it you should groove the quality of stroke and strike that you’re after
Line and aim drill
For this drill, find a flat six-foot putt. Then, draw a line around the circumference of your ball and take care to aim this and the face of your putter at the middle of the hole.
Now take your normal address position and check whether the line on the ball looks as if it is still aiming at the middle of the hole.
One of the big faults that players make is not getting their eyes directly over the ball. If you fall into this trap, this drill highlights the problem and helps you find a more solid address position.
If you are confident that you are aligned correctly at set up you will be far more likely to make a smooth, technically sound stroke.