Do you know what the secret is to going low? It’s putting. That’s right putting—at least that’s what research shows. Low handicap golfers make more putts from farther away than high handicappers do. Sink more 10-footers and your scores will plummet.
The golf drill below teaches you to drain putts from farther away. The golf drill is simple, proven, and useful. It’s also popular with teaching pros. They use it all the time in golf instruction sessions. Plus, it’s one of Jordan Spieth’s favorite drills, so you know it works.
- Find a straight putt on the practice green that’s about five feet away. Then, lay an alignment stick down on the ground. Place the stick just outside your putting line. Point it at the hole. Now, drop a ball down. Make sure it’s on the putting line and parallel to the alignment stick.
- Next, ground your putter. Make sure the head misses the alignment stick and is perpendicular to the putting line. Now hit some putts. Keep practicing putts at that distance until you make five in a row. Then move everything back a foot or so.
- If you miss a putt, start over. Keep moving the starting point back until you get to about ten feet away. Sinking more putts from 10-feet away is your goal.
Using the alignment stick tells you if your putting stroke has the right arc. If it crosses the alignment stick as you go back, you know your stroke is off. The golf drill also tells you if your putter head is square to the target line.
Used a lot in golf instruction sessions, this putting drill will help you cut strokes from your scores. Before you know it, you’ll be breaking 80.
Debunking Five Deadly Putting Myths
Improving your putting is the best way to lower your scores. It’s also the fastest. Statistics show, for example, that, on average putting is 41.3% of a player’s score per round. Improve your putting and your scores will drop.
But that’s easier said than done. Too often, players let putting myths block improvement. Eliminate those myths and you’ll drain more putts:
Here are five common putting myths among weekend golfers:
- Grip the putter in your lifeline
- Set your eyes over the ball
- Put straight back and through
- Ball forward in your stance
- Topspin keeps the ball on line
Eliminate the mistakes caused by the putting myths described below and you’ll see your putting improve dramatically.
1. Grip the putter in your lifeline
Placing the putter along the lifeline has several cons. It robs you of feel. It encourages your left forearm to rotate under your right. And it stops you from moving the putter on an arc. Gripping the putter more in your fingers, however, provides more leverage and more control. Plus, your wrists are less likely to break down during putting.
2. Set your eyes over the ball
Doing this can cause your putter to move outside the target line on the backstroke. This flaw forces you to make adjustments during the stroke. Keeping your eyes just inside the ball, however, frees your hands to swing and rotate easily. It also eliminates the need to get your hands more involved. Plus, it provides an undistorted view of the putting line.
3. Put straight back and through
This type of stroke is great for short putts. But it’s not for short putts. Using a putting stroke with a slight arc work is better on longer putts. It keeps the putter’s face square to the target line. It’s more consistent with a putter’s design. And it keeps the ball on target without forcing you to twist the clubface square at impact. More important, it doesn’t account for eye domination and it’s easier to master.
4. Ball forward in your stance
This position doesn’t work for every player. A player’s putting stance position determines the correct ball position. That, in turn, ensures the player’s sighting line has perfect vision along the putter face. Instead, you need to square the putter face in relation to your eye dominance —not a preconceived ball position. Try different ball positions to see which one works best for you.
5. Topspin keeps the ball on line
Using topspin (or an upward stroke) doesn’t guarantee you’ll keep the ball online when putting. If you fail to sight the line of aim correctly and set up with a perfectly square putter face, you will hit putts that miss. Squaring up your putter face and then delivering a straight low stroke achieves a more accurate stroke. Plus, it keeps the ball online longer.
Correcting the swing flaws generated by these five putting myths can help you sink more putts per round. That, in turn, will help you shoot lower scores and but strokes from your golf handicap. If you’re going to break 80, you’ll need to be the best putter you can be.
Use These Seven Swing Thoughts to Help You Lower Scores.
There are two sides to putting—the physical and the mental. Both are critical when to sinking more putts and lowering scores. Learning the mechanics of putting—the physical side—is fairly straight forward. It’s also the easier of the two sides to learn. Once you iron out the mechanics of putting, you can practice them until you master them.
Where you may have trouble, however, is with the mental side of golf. The mental side of putting is just as critical to lowering scores as the physical side is, if not more critical. Thinking the wrong swing thoughts while putting, for example, can cause you to miss easy putts. That, in turn, can bump up your scores.
Below are seven proven putting swing thoughts. You want to focus on one of them when putting. That blocks out any negative thoughts from your mind while putting. For best results, practice with this one thought in mind. That ingrains it. Then, the next time you putt the thought will be in your mind when you need it.
Do you get nervous when putting? Many weekend golfers do—especially when standing over a birdie, eagle, or an easy three-foot putt—the kind that everyone should make. Getting nervous builds tension in your hands, arms, and shoulders. That prevents you from making a nice, fluid stroke. Instead, take a final look at the cup. Refocus on the ball. And then say to yourself “relax.” That tells your body to release any tension you have.
2. “Back of the ball”
This swing thought is popular low handicappers. Striking the ball solidly is critical when putting. In fact, it’s just as critical as when hitting an iron or wood. Use the above- mentioned phrase just prior to starting your stroke. It forces you to focus your eyes on the precise area of the ball to hit. That, in turn, will help you make a solid strike that will keep the ball online all the way to the hole.
3. “Accelerate through the ball”
Some weekend golfers just use the word “accelerate” instead of the whole phrase. Decelerating your stroke while putting is costly. It causes you to putt timidly instead of with confidence and come up short. It also causes you to hit putts that wander offline. Instead, think about accelerating through impact by making these words the key swing thought when putting.
4. “Keep head still”
Keeping your head still while putting is critical. If you’re like some weekend golfers, you can’t see how a little movement with your head can hurt your putting but it can. Peek just a little too soon and you can derail your putts. It will cause them to wobble all over the place. Instead, say “head still’ when making your stroke. Then keep your eyes on the back of the ball until it’s long gone.
5. “Rock the shoulders”
This is a swing thought I use myself. That’s because it works. It helps me make a smooth, pendulum like stroke. Plus, it keeps the hands and wrists “quiet.” When these things move, you generally miss the putt. But thinking “rock the shoulders” is a great thought to have for players that tend to get too handsy when putting. Controlling the big muscles of the shoulders is easier than controlling the small muscles of the hands and arms.
6. “Never up, never in”
This phrase is probably as old as golf. But it contains more than an element of truth in it. If the ball never gets to the hole, it has no chance of going in. Thinking “never up, never in” reminds you to focus on a spot about 12 inches beyond the hole and to putt for that. It also helps you make a solid impact. That will keep the ball online as it travels to the hole and slightly beyond. A putt like that at least has a chance to go in.
7. “Speed over direction”
This swing thought, like the one above is more of a reminder than anything else. Hitting the ball with the right speed is probably the biggest factor in sinking more putts. Balls that lose speed as they get to the hole veer off. But one that has the right direction and is struck with just enough force to achieve the right rate of speed will go in every time. Learning to putt the ball at just the right speed also helps you control the putt even on long putts.
Keep one of these thoughts in mind when putting. That will help you banish any negative thoughts that can creep in to your head. Below is a putting drill that you can use to help you ingrain one of these thoughts in mind.
Take two clubs and line them up on each side of the target line—one club on the outside of the target line, one club on the inside of the target line. The outside club’s head points away from the hole while the grip points toward the hole starting at the ball. The inside club’s head points toward the hole while the grip points away starting at the ball. Try some putts. Focus on swinging inside-to-in, not inside-to-out.
Practicing this golf drill with a single swing thought in mind will train you to sink more putts. That can’t help but lower scores for you.