The Secrets for Better Putting
Professional golfers make mistakes just like the rest of us. But there is one mistake they make that really irks them, and that is three-putting a hole. The point here is even the very best golfers in the world will occasionally three-putts so don’t be too hard on yourself if you do too.
Here are some techniques you can put to work to minimize those three-putts:
- It is wrong to believe that most three-putts take place on very long putts.
A lot of golfers will sadly attest to making three-putts on three-foot putts! Do not be over-confident when you walk up to a short putt. True, shorter putts are often easier to make than longer ones, however going too quickly or without taking a moment to settle in can often lead to a missed shot.
- Control Your Emotions:
A missed putt, especially a missed short putt, often results in anger or frustration. While you are angry can often lead to more missed putts. Settle down before you take your next putt.
- Short Putts:
This does not apply to everyone, but it does apply to enough golfers that it needs to be addressed. Three-putts are often the result of poor short golf shots. This is when your ball rolls forward but stops way short of the hole, thus leaving you another difficult putt which you are just as likely to miss as the first.
This can be rooted in many different things, including a lack of confidence. The cure for this is mastering distance control. And mastering distance control on the green should be a routine part of all of your putting practice sessions.
A good drill for mastering distance control on the practice green is to take several balls and putt them to an imaginary line that bisects the cup. Don’t worry about sinking them; just concentrate on getting the ball to that line or a little beyond. This is one of the best distance controls drills you can perform because it works.
- In order to get the ball close to the hole on long putts you have to hit the ball hard enough to get it there. If you find yourself with a long putt and are unsure of how much force you need to use, go to a point about half-way between the ball and the cup to take a few practice swings.
Because you are closer to the hole, your muscle memory will probably be able to better tap into putt you need to make the shot. Take this information with you to the ball, and when you set up to putt, bring your putter back twice as far as you did on the closer practice putt. This may feel odd, but give it a try anyway.
- The 3-Foot Circle:
This simple concept has been around for ages, and it works for many golfers. Imagine a
three-foot circle around the cup. Your objective is to get your golf ball within that circle. Don’t concentrate too much on sinking the putt; only get the ball within that circle.
This tip all but assumes that you will need to make one more putt, but that putt will be much closer to the hole. If the ball drips into the cup, great! But if it does not, you now have a short three-foot (or less) putt to make.
One of the best ways to improve is to do what I call a preview. This is basically the same as a pre-shot routine, only it takes place on the green rather than on the tee or fairway.
Developing a preview will serve you in many ways not the least of which is helping to settle your nerves on those tricky putts we all run into from time to time.
Here are some tips on how to develop your own putting preview routine:
Start your preview as you walk to the green. On some courses, you can tell the grain of the grass by the color you see as you approach the green. A darker shade indicates the grain is toward you, whereas a lighter shade shows the grain is running away from you.
You can also look for slope conditions as you approach the green. In many cases, seeing a slope will be easier from a distance than when you are standing on top of it.
Depending on the course you are playing, look for water and mountains. The ball will normally break toward water and break away from nearby mountains.
You do not want to hold up play for too long, but do take a few moments to size up your putt. Squat down and look at the line from as many angles as you need to in order to determine the break, if any.
Always take a few practice swings before putting. This not only helps to settle your nerves, but it also allows you a moment to catch your breath from the walk up to the green.
It also allows your muscle memory to get in sync with your swing.
A part of my putting preview is to pick up my ball, after marking its spot, and clean it. I then replace the ball, aiming it toward the proper target line using a black line I put on all of my golf balls. Yes, this is legal, in case you are wondering.
This black target line helps me to keep my head down as I putt since I only concentrate on hitting that black line squarely with the putter face.
An important tip about making a preview work for you is to make your putt as soon as you finish the routine. If you do your routine and then stand around for even a minute, you will lose most of the benefits the preview has to offer. When you complete your preview, take your stance
and make your putt.
With a little practice, most golfers can develop and perfect a putting preview routine that takes no longer than sixty seconds. Once you have your own unique sequence established, performing it will become easier, and faster, as time goes on.
The key to making this work for you, however, is repetition. You have to get a sequence established and then perform the sequence time after time. Repetition is the key!
It should also be noted that the routine that works for one golfer may not work as well for the next. The set-up of any routine should be rooted in what works for you. However, if you are new to golf or if you are not sure what to do, watch what some of the pros do on the green.