You have probably heard the saying, “Drive for show, putt for dough.” The adage always holds true.
Take tour professionals, for example. Those who can drive the ball miles and miles are a dime a dozen, but there are only a small number of truly great putters. When it comes down to it, the players who are able to putt well will be more successful in the long run.
While Tiger Woods was well known for the lengths he could drive the ball, it was his putting that allowed him to win so many titles over the years. He prided himself on making short putts that others would miss once or twice a round. When these strokes are added up at the end of a four-round tournament, they are significant. It can be the difference between making and missing the cut, finishing third or winning a tournament.
This is why top professionals spend so much of their time out on the practice putting green.
Amateur golfers tend to practice nowhere near as often as professionals, but the time they do spend is usually on the driving range, whacking balls with their drivers and irons. The putting green is often desolate, with nobody at all practicing their putting.
With just 30 minutes of work on putting a week, you can drastically improve your game and gain an edge on your playing partners and opponents. Here are three of the best drills that are used by top tour professionals.
1. Putting through the gate
Weekly time spent doing this drill: 15 minutes
This is a drill that Tiger Woods would use each and every time he was preparing to go out on the golf course, as well as during practice.
You simply place a tee on either side of your putter head, allowing just enough room for you to swing through. Have it lined up to a hole with a relatively straight line. Now you should practice striking a ball through these gates. This is a great drill for tempo, consistent contact and distance control.
At first, you may strike the gates a lot of the time, but you can record how often you do this and watch over time how this number gets lower and lower. You can compete against yourself to see how many consecutive putts you can hole. Woods would normally do this drill using just his right hand to make it extra hard.
2. Putting to a tee
Weekly time spent doing this drill: 10 minutes
This is a great drill to get your focus narrowed down and to make you more accurate with your putting. It is definitely a drill you should implement into your pre-round routine, as well as using it on the practice green.
Simply place a single tee in the putting green. Start putting at it from roughly three feet away. Once you successfully hit the tee, move away another foot and repeat the process until you hit the tee from 12 feet.
As you are hitting towards a target that is smaller than the hole, your focus will be narrowed. When you start striking the ball back towards a real hole, it will look massive in comparison to the single tee and you will subsequently be a lot more accurate.
3. “Eyes on the prize” drill
Weekly time spent doing this drill: 5 minutes
The final part of this 30-minute putting routine is to work on your long-distance putting. Long putts are tricky, as you have to negotiate more breaks, figure out the right pace to strike the ball and try to get it as close to the hole as possible.
A great way to work on your pace judgment and distance control is to practice hitting long-range putts while looking at the hole during the stroke. When you are focused on the target, your stroke will be more natural and your long-distance putting will be a lot more instinctive as you practice this drill over time. It is a top quality drill for pace control.
— Andrew O’Malley