For many golfers, putting practice can be monotonous and without purpose. You can change that by incorporating one easy drill.
The most frustrating putts to miss are those under five feet. They are often the ones that you end up with when your speed is off on your first putt or, in another scenario, are the opportunity provided by a fantastic approach shot.
Not only do you want to work on your first putt speed but you also want to make sure your putting stroke in spot on from short range. Here is an easy way to practice both. It’s a game putting guru Dave Pelz calls Safety Draw-Back which you can modify many ways to suit the skill you are trying to develop.
How It Works
First, start with a putt in the 15 to 35 feet range. This can be by yourself or in a friendly game with a fellow golfer.
Here we are not only trying to make the putt but also ensuring that any misses go past the hole (to show you had a chance of making the 1st putt), leaving you within a tap-in range (a safe zone you can establish, 18 inches or so is suggested).
For any putt that reaches the “safety zone” beyond the hole, simply tap in to complete the play.
Each time you miss short of the hole (whether on the 1st, 2nd, or any subsequent putt), you take the ball and draw it back the length of standard putter (approximately 34-36 inches). This means that if you don’t hole your first putt, or reach the safety zone, you will always have to face a putt of at least three feet long.
You can score the game and play against a friend or yourself. Try and play 9 or 18 holes on the putting green and see how you do. You can establish a goal each round you play and measure your improvements over time.
If you can play this game at even or under par on a regular basis, you will have an impressive putting game.
/ Scott MacLeod is the Associate Publisher of Flagstick/Flagstick Golf Magazine and a Class A member of the PGA of Canada