We’ve heard the phrase hundreds of times: “Drive for show, putt for dough.”
It comes as no surprise then that the best players happen to be the best putters. Who can forget Tiger Woods’ mastery on the greens during his dominating run atop the world rankings? Last year Jordan Spieth ranked No. 1 in putts per round at a minuscule 27; just behind him were Jason Day (T6) and Phil Mickelson (9). Spieth was near the top in another telling category; he ranked second in one-putt percentage at 44.3% (that’s a one-putt nearly half the time!). Day and Mickelson ranked 6th and 7th, respectively.
For golfers, the quickest way to shave strokes of their games is to improve their putting. Pound Ridge Golf Club General Manager, Todd Leavenworth, has shared some drills that can be practice all from the comfort of golfer’s living rooms.
The key to a repeatable putting stroke is a solid base. Too much lower-body movement hinders a golfer’s ability to consistently deliver the putter head to the back of the ball. Swaying too much in your stroke will produce off-center hits resulting in poor pace and accuracy. An easy fix to overactive hips is to set up in your putting stance with your rear end on a wall. Make a few strokes and focus on keeping your caboose firmly connected to the wall. The less you move, the more you’ll make.
The sign of a solidly-struck putt is a golf ball rolling end-over-end. To help you get a feel for a proper roll, use a Sharpie and draw a straight line – emphasis on straight – around the circumference of the golf ball. Pick a chair leg or place a glass in front of you and roll a few putts at it. Pay close attention to the Sharpie line; if it wobbles your path to the ball was incorrect. After a few putts you should get the feeling of what it takes to produce an end-over-end putt.
Hit the Gas Pedal
Top instructors believe the proper putting stroke is about 40% back-stroke and 60% follow through (meaning your back-stroke is shorter than your follow through). Better putters accelerate through impact; deceleration causes nothing but trouble. To help you power through the ball, grab a ruler and place a golf ball at the six-inch mark. Place a stickie note at the 10-inch mark labeled “1” and another note at the beginning of the ruler labeled “2.” Now, swing the putter over No. 1 and accelerate through impact to No. 2. Excelling at accelerating is excellent technique.
It’s simple: a square putter face makes more putts. For this drill, grab two cans of soup (chicken noodle is our favorite) and place them roughly eight inches in front of you with a small, golf-ball sized gap between them. Roll some putts attempting to fit the golf ball between the cans of soup. Shoot the gap consistently and you’ll shoot lower scores.
Chase the Rabbit
A great drill for developing consistency, tempo and feel is “chasing the rabbit.” Roll one golf ball away from you (any distance works) and simply “chase” that first ball with the second. Focus on re-creating you previous stroke to help you feel how much effort is needed to hit a golf ball a certain distance.
After all of your home practicing, come master your putting game at Pound Ridge Golf Club - book your tee times here: http://www.poundridgegolf.com/booking.