One of the quickest ways to improve your golf scores this year is to spend more quality time on your putting.
During the winter months the colder weather won’t allow golfers to get out to work on their games. But I’ve devised a simple little practice routine for those of you who can’t get out to the golf course because of poor weather conditions or if your busy schedule doesn’t allow you to get away as much as you would like to practice.
We’ve just come through a hectic holiday season and many people have been guilty of over indulging by eating or drinking too much. This week’s tip involves getting “tipsy” with your putter, and I don’t mean excessive drinking while you’re working on your putting stroke.
Instead, it has to do with getting too overloaded with multiple swing thoughts or ill-timed advice that can overwhelm your brain. People mean well, but sometimes their advice can be mis-construed by you the eager student and this in turn can send your scores soaring and your confidence out the window. Soon you won’t be able to walk and chew gum at the same time.
It’s the old ‘Too much analysis causes paralysis” syndrome. So, this tip I have for you as it relates to your putting stroke can easily be practiced in the privacy of your home or office.
What you need for the drill
All you’ll need is a golf ball, your putter and a small paper or plastic cup like the one shown in the photo.
When it comes to putting there are two well-known schools of thought: “never up, Never in” and “Let the ball die at the hole.” The former may work well on slow greens, but it will lead to many three putts on fast greens.
With that approach the ball has only one door – the front to enter the hole. If you follow the latter philosophy, the ball has three doors in which it can enter; the front and both sides. Hopefully, your office of home doesn’t have shag carpeting when you are ready to work on your putting. In that case you’ll need your wedge to chip and that’s a completely different lesson.
The reason you want to use a lighter cup is not only are you trying to putt your ball into it, you’re also trying to make the cup stand up as shown in the photo. This may look easy, but it will demand your utmost attention – I promise.
The idea here is to not only help you make a good stroke on-line to your intended target, but to also ensure you are using the correct amount of speed on the putt. Just rapping a ball hard into the cup really doesn’t serve any purpose, especially on shorter putts, because you’re not executing the right technique to simulate what you would do on the golf course. Because the cup is so light there is less margin for error, as compared to using a coffee cup or heavier drinking cup.
You’ll see exactly what I mean after you hit a few putts and watch your cup spin off in numerous directions when you’ve hit a poor one. When you’re working on your putting stroke the key is to be patient and consistent; not reckless and rushing through so you’re make a half-hearted attempt at your target.
There is golf and there is putting. Putting is one stroke everyone should be good at, but alas, many are not. Becoming a great putter demands a combination of concentration, confidence and touch.
Quality, not quantity
Make sure the few minutes you can spare to work on your stroke are spent wisely, because quality, not quantity, is the operative word here. Practicing putting to a smaller target such as the cup will really help fine-tune your skills. When you step out to the course and putt on a real green the hole will seem quite huge in comparison.
Please be patient and give this drill a chance; I would start off with short putts and gradually work your way back. When done correctly this translates into you not only getting your ball on the right path to the target, but you’ll also have the proper amount of speed.
In this drill if you hit your putt too hard it may go into the cup and spill over backward, which means you had a good line, but too much speed. Too much side or backspin on your putting stroke will make your ball hit the lip of the hole and spin out, which I jokingly like to call “Liprosy.” I like to tell all my students when they’ve made that stroke that “they’ve hit more lips than a nearsighted dentist.”
During this upcoming golf season if you put in a little time now with this putting tip I can guarantee you that this drill will help your “cup runneth over” with plenty of birdies and must-have pars for the coming year.