There are two drills that you should do prior to playing a round of golf or before leaving the practice green. These drills involve taking the art of putting and breaking it down into two parts, lag putting and finishing putts.
Lag putting is the act of getting the ball as close as you can to the hole. These putts are generally outside of 10 ft and can extend to 50-60 ft. Anything longer than that is still considered a lag putt but will be outside of the scope of this article.
Finishing putts are the group of putts that you attempt with full intention of holing out. These putts are generally 10 ft and in.
Once you divide up these two areas of putting, it becomes easier to train yourself how to attempt either style of putt.
A great drill to get the “feel” for lag putting involves 3 tees and a practice putting green. To start this drill, place tees in the ground at 10, 15, 20 paces from a hole. This will be roughly 30, 45, 60 feet putts.
The drill is starts with 3 balls at the 10 pace tee marker. Start putting and try to get every putt within 3 ft of the hole. Once you get all 3 putts within a 3 ft circle, you can move back to the 15 pace tee and do the same. Repeat the process for the 20 pace tee after putting 3 into the circle from the 15 pace tee. (The easiest way to determine a 3 foot circle is to lay your putter down with the grip lined up with the edge of the hole, most putters are 35 inches. IF the ball is inside the putter length, ITS GOOD!)
HERE IS THE DIFFICULT PART OF THE DRILL- You have to make all of the putts in succession, if you don’t, you start over at the 10 pace tee. This means that if you make all three from 10 paces within a 3 foot circle, make one from 15 paces and your second putt isn’t inside, then you start over.
Continue the drill until you make all 9 putts within the circle.
As you get better at lag putting, you can make it harder by only allowing putts that finish beyond the hole to count. This encourages you to get every putt to the hole and give it a chance to go in. REMEMBER, short putts cannot go in the hole!
The drill that I use here is similar to the one described above. I call it the 3 ft, 6 ft, 9 ft drill. You need the same 3 tees and a putting green.
Place tees at 3, 6, 9 ft. Putt 3 balls from each station and you can only advance to a further tee by making all of your putts at the shorter distances. THREE FOOT PUTTS WILL BECOME EASY!
The drill is over when you make all 9 putts.
For advanced players, you can add an additional ball to the rotation or add a 12 ft. tee marker. Either way you will have to make 12 putts in a row to win.
On Course Utility
After you get yourself trained to hit putts from 10, 15, and 20 paces, you can start to pace off putts on the golf course. This skill will help your mind focus on the distance and start to get those long putts closer.
Your finishing putts will become easier too. You will be able to walk up to a 4-5 foot putt and confidently knock it into the hole like you routinely do in your practice sessions.
Hit it close and MAKE THE PUTT!
As always, leave a comment below the article. I will write about it soon and give you some drills to get you playing your best. Follow me on twitter and Don’t forget to pass this along to your friends that might have golf questions.