Golf Putting Tips & Drills

By Robert Preston
Sometimes the shortest putts can be the most difficult ones.
Sometimes the shortest putts can be the most difficult ones.

The putter is the most used golf club—and often the source of the most frustration, with long putts finishing far from the hole, and short putts not falling. From reading a putt's break to determining the speed of the green to factoring in the wind, putting can be a difficult task. By finding the right putter, then working on distance control and composure over short putts, you can turn the putter from a worry into a weapon.

Putter Selection

Choosing the right putter, and sticking with that putter, allows you to become comfortable with your club and develop a grip and rhythm that work for you. Standard putters are held with the hands and are the most popular style. However, recent innovations have been made with the aim of increasing consistency and limiting misses on short putts. The belly putter is held like a normal putter but features a longer shaft whose end pivots at the belly. A full-length putter is anchored against the chest with one hand and gripped lower on the shaft with the other. When shopping for a new putter, try multiple styles.

Distance Control

Proper distance control is the key to limiting your three-putts. Having proper pace on your putts will help ensure your ball finishes close to the hole for an easy tap-in with your second putt. To practice putting at various lengths, set up two items on a putting surface so that they are several feet apart. The line between the items is the target line for your putts. Drop several balls down so that one is about 4 feet away, one about 6 feet and so on, then attempt to putt each ball as close as possible to the target line.

Conquering the Yips

The yips is something many golfers deal. The yips occur when a golfer can not create a smooth putting stroke due to nerves; the putting motion will be disrupted by an abrupt jerking or twitching motion that produces misses on even short putts. The condition can escalate as missed putts drain the player's confidence. A simple drill to work on making short putts is to place four balls on the green so that they form a square shape around the hole, with each ball approximately 3 feet from the hole. Putt until you make all four putts in succession. The more the drill is performed, the more comfortable the player should become making "easy" putts.

Beyond drills, consider making a change to your putting approach, whether it be your pre-shot routine, your grip or your stance. You might find something that makes you feel more comfortable and confident standing over a putt.

Photo Credits

  • putter, balle et trou image by LAURENT VICENZOTTI from Fotolia.com
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