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Putting For Dough

Putting – Almost Half of Your Golf Game

The putting portion of the game for the average golfer represents about 40% of all your strokes taken during a regular round. However, I find that most people are lucky if they spend 10% of their total practice time working on their putting skills. There are two keys to becoming a better putter, the first is to make more of your shorter length putts (under 5 feet) and two reduce the number of three putts in a round.

Some key stats are professionals make 50% of putts from 8 feet while amateurs make 50% from 4 feet. Professionals three putt less than 5% of the time while amateurs three putt almost 20% of the time.

So the first step in becoming a better putter is to get a putter that fits you in regards to length, shape, weight and style (face balanced or heel weighted). I will leave selecting a putter to another discussion. Yet having the right tool in your hand is very important.

I would like to discuss a couple of drills that will help address our two biggest issues – short putts and distance control.

Putt to Fringe – on the putting green take four balls and start from about 25 feet from the fringe – the goal here is to hit the putt so that it reaches the fringe but does not go into the rough surrounding the fringe. The goal is to get three out of the four balls on the fringe but not into the rough. As you achieve this goal then move back five feet and repeat. Also perform this drill from all angles, meaning up hill, downhill and side hill slopes.

North, South, East and West Drill – Take four balls and surround the hole on four sides starting about 3 feet away from the hole. The goal is to make all four balls going in a circular motion around the hole. Repeat this until you have completed this drill five times – or the equivalent of making 2o straight putts in a row. If you miss one start the entire process over. Phil Michelson does this drill making 100 in a row or he starts over. As you master this from three feet move on to four and five foot increments. As you move out to a greater distance maybe 10 or 15 in a row is satisfactory.