Do you know how many times you 3-putt during a round of golf? The average golfer does this as many as three to four times a round, if not more. A great way to shave some strokes off your scores quickly is to eliminate those dreaded 3-putts. 40% of the shots you take during a round of golf is with your putter. Many golfers face an average of their first putt being outside of 30 feet. The big problem is that the average golfer leaves it well short or knocks it five feet past the hole. That puts a lot of added pressure on you when you’re trying to make par and usually results in a 3-putt. You need to make pars if you want to lower your scores, so the goal to better putting is to knock those 30 footers within two feet of the cup. If you can do that, your chances to make par (or at worst, bogey) will rise by 80%.
With that being said, here’s a great drill to help you gain control of your distance on long putts. When you’re on the practice green, take the flag stick or a golf club and place it two feet behind the hole (as in the picture below).
Walk off a point on the practice green that’s about 30 feet away from the hole. Next, place three balls in a row about six inches apart. Now, while looking at the hole, take some practice swings and ‘feel’ the distance you need to swing the putter in order to get the ball past the hole and not touch the stick (or club) behind the hole. This allows you to get a feeling for the distance. Address the first ball, look at the hole and the stick behind the hole and strike the ball while looking at the hole. Don’t worry, you’ll definitely hit the ball and I bet you won’t leave it short. Hit all three balls like this and see how many you can get in between the hole and the stick without touching the stick. To make things more interesting, make a little game out of it and associate points with where the ball ends up. If you leave it short, count it as zero points. If you go past the hold and hit the stick, that’s also zero points. If you get between the hole and the stick, count that as one point. If you hole the putt, count that as three points. When you get to ten points, move ten feet further away from the hole and start over.
Do this drill from 20 – 30 – 40 – 50 feet before your next round and I guarantee that when you get out on the course and face long putts, you’ll knock it closer than ever before and you’ll be well on your way to shaving some strokes off your score.