Good putting requires complete conviction. Here’s a simple drill to inspire confidence for holing more putts. It’s also a good lesson for beginners to get a feel for the ball going in the hole. Start by holing a one-foot putt. Then increase the distance by one foot until you miss: go to two feet, three feet and so on.
See how far back you can go until you miss. When you do miss, start over at the one-foot distance. Try it on breaking putts as well as uphill and downhill putts. If you get out to eight feet without missing, pat yourself on the back.
If you’re struggling to get past two or three feet, try to clear your mind of too many thoughts, and just concentrate on making a firm, decisive stroke—accelerating the putter head through the ball. The more shots you make, the more confident you’ll be when you leave the practice green.
Make Center Contact and Keep
Your Head Down
Short putts are all too easy to miss, at any level of the game. But two simple things can help you make more of them.
First, try to hit the middle of the ball in the middle of the putter face. To make center contact, align the side-stamp of the ball with the aim mark on your putter. Almost all putters today are designed with the sweet spot behind that alignment aid.
Next, when you stroke the putt, keep your head down for a count of at least one second after the ball is gone. You might want to think to yourself one-thousand one before looking up, especially on a must-make putt.
You would be surprised how often these two fundamentals are neglected. But sticking to them will make you a better putter.
Get Low and Keep Your Eyes Level on Long Putts
Have you ever had the feeling you’re going to make a long putt—and then made it? Sometimes you’re unsure of how a putt will break, but you still have to pick a line and stroke the ball on that line with assurance. Check a putt from behind the hole, from the side, and finally from behind the ball. I try to get as low as I can and keep my eyes level.
The No. 1 reason for missing putts is poor alignment of the putter face. I would always want to visualize not only seeing the line but build confidence in my mind of seeing the ball rolling into the hole. That’s why visualizing the ball tracking on your line will improve your chances of making a putt.
I highly recommend spending more time on the practice green prior to going out on the course to build your confidence and not have to warm up on the golf course after putting on the first few holes and thus scoring higher than you should have if you practiced prior to teeing off.
PGA Professional Dean Sklar is a member of the Quarter Century Club of the PGA of America, an elite group of members who have served the PGA with honor and pride for 25 years. If you would like to talk to Dean about your golf game, contact him at [email protected] or visit Rose and Dean Sklar at Coldwell Banker online at SklarTeam.com