Lessons 5 & 6: Testing Your Putting Precision
Practice Site: Practice Green
Instructions by: Kellie Stenzel
This drill is pretty straightforward. On the practice green, set up a straight, 3-foot putt. (See above photo) Try at least 10 attempts and keep track on how well you did. Move the ball to four feet. Make 10 attempts again and see how many times you succeed with putting at four feet. If you have less than eighty-per-cent (8 out of 10) success rate from putting at three feet and lower than 7 out 10 success rate from putting at four feet, then more likely you have putterface control problems. If you are missing a straight putt from a short distance, your putterface is either pointing left or right at impact. To help you with this, follow the “Chalk Line” drill (below). On the other hand, if you pass the short distance putt test, you can start working on other areas of your putting game like distance control and stroke calibration. If you succeed on the majority of your short putts, it is obvious that your “putterface” is pointing where it should be at impact.
Improve accuracy with chalk line drills
Compared to the force you use in iron and driver swings, the force in most putting strokes are relatively small. Hence, the starting direction of the ball is most likely determined by where the putter face points during impact. If the face points to the target’s left at impact, it is almost impossible not to miss left (or right, in case the face points to the right at impact). The “Chalk Line” drill can help you with this problem. On a flat section of your practice green, snap a chalk line. You can find chalk line at DIY or hardware stores. Make sure the face is angled at 90-degrees to the chalk line. Then, look down and check if your shoulders are parallel to your forearms, hips and, toes and with the chalk line. You get the best chance of striking squarely to the ball with this neutral setup, hence, starting the ball on the line where you intended it to be.
Now get some putts rolling, checking your stroke path using the chalk line and your peripheral vision, and confirming if you can start the ball on line with. The ball should follow the line from start to finish since it is just a straight putt. Do this drill at least two times a week to verify that you can control the putterface and keep bad habits from creeping in again. This drill will also help keep your head down and prevent you from peeking since you are mostly focusing on the line. Less peeking helps smoothen out your motion and eventually boost your confidence.