Having watched many playing companions over the years, I’m convinced that most golfers would improve their scores tremendously by holing those crucial six- to eight-footers more regularly. Drills are a great way to go about building the confidence needed to stand over the ball and really believe you’re going to hole it, and these are two of the best short putting drills I’ve used over the years.
The first drill involves setting up a number of balls close to the hole about a foot apart. I’ve got five balls here, but you can have six, eight or however many you want.
You must then hole them all in sequence. As soon as you miss one, it’s time to start again! It’s a really great drill for both concentration and confidence, especially if you promise yourself a little treat when you’ve holed them all, like a coffee or maybe even a beer!
The second drill requires six tee pegs. Two of them are used to form a smaller gate for the ball to go through a couple of feet out from the hole; the other four are for a bigger gate for the putterhead to pass through.
The idea is to putt the ball through the little gate and into the hole without clipping any of the tee pegs with your putter, and obviously missing the two tee pegs in the smaller gate as they will deflect your ball off-line.
The key is to listen for the ball to drop rather than looking up early, as looking up invariably causes you to clip the tee pegs with your putter and miss. This drill really improves your concentration, encourages you to keep your head still with your eyes over the ball, and promotes a real pendulum stroke.
1 Hole them all
Incentivise things by promising yourself a coffee or a nice cold drink once you’ve managed to hole all five, six or however many you’ve laid out in one go.
2 Start again
As soon as you miss one, retrieve all the balls and start again! Seeing ball after ball dropping into the hole will do wonders for your confidence.
3 No peeking
The real key to the double gate drill is to keep your head still and your eyes over the ball rather than anxiously looking up early to see if you’ve holed it.