Short putting drills
The pace you hit your 3-footers is just as important as when you are lagging from 40ft. You need a roll that is strong enough to stay on line over any imperfections on the green but you don’t want to hit the ball too hard and lip out. Finding the right balance is tricky. A great drill designed to hone your short range pace putting is to place a tee peg in the back of the hole. Hit a series of putts from 3ft with just enough pace so the ball hits the tee peg on its way in. Training this part of your game will help make you far more solid over nervous short putts.
From close range your putting stroke will be fairly straight through the impact area (for longer putts there should be a natural in-to-square to-in arc to your stroke). A great drill designed to help you groove a better path through the impact zone (and as a result, better strikes) is to create a gateway using six tee pegs. The putter should be able to pass freely through this area unimpeded. At the start of your short putting practice routine, devote five minutes to checking and grooving this essential element.
The challenge of short putting is mostly mental. However, that’s not to say you can’t prepare for it. Use two tee pegs to create a gate either side of the entrance to the hole, just wider than the hole itself. How many consecutive putts can you hit cleanly through the gate? Despite the fact that you’re not trying to compile a score on the course, the more you make, the more the pressure will grow. This drill also forces you to be more focused and precise in practice that will also help you when you get to the course.
The best putters from close range rely on their bigger core muscles to create the momentum as opposed to their smaller, twitchier muscles. This means creating a stable connection between your body and arms through the stroke. To develop this, place a glove under each arm at address. Feel that your arms are holding the gloves securely in place and hit a series of putts. You should notice how it is the gentle rotation of your body that creates the momentum – not your hands. This will make you far more reliable from close range.
When Tiger Woods was at his peak, there was one thing about his putting that stood out from the rest – how still he remained. Developing a stable body in the putting stroke is essential for the consistency of your stroke. To help, place your ball on a marker or coin at address. Hit a series of putts, focusing your eyes on the marker once the ball has gone. This forces you to keep your head ‘quiet’ during the stroke and will improve your stability.