Practice of any skill can become rather boring, especially Block putting practice where you are repeating an activity over and over again. To address this, golf coaches love to add some extra gaming elements to keep players interested, but on-task at the same time.
A favourite for me to use with students, and not just kids, is a classic, X’s and O’s. I use trail tape to mark out a grid, pinning the tape down with tees to keep it from blowing away. I then set up a “start” line for the players (2 at a time), usually 7-10 feet from the start of the grid.
Players then flip a tee to see who goes first, then play X’s and O’s with their putts, trying to score three balls aligned in a row to win the game. For beginners you can use very large squares, but for better players, tighten them up a bit.
To take the game to another level, place a tee in the middle of each square and if the player can cozy their shot right up to the tee, they earn another turn right away.
The game helps players develop their touch and feel as well as putter face control. This is especially true for the “enhanced” version with the tees in the squares.
If you don’t have anyone to play with, simply try and get a ball into each square in as few putts as possible. Test yourself with different patterns, or make up your own goals.
You’ll be surprised how much fun this game is, for golfers of all ages. Your skills will develop before you realize you are actually practicing.
/ Scott MacLeod is the Associate Publisher of Flagstick/Flagstick Golf Magazine and a Class A member of the PGA of Canada