Have you ever hit a green in regulation and 3-putted for bogey? Of course you have, we all do it! Here are some tips to lower your putt count and turn those bogeys into a par or better.
First thing you need to do is line up your putt from both sides of the cup and give yourself a read from alternate angles. If you are 8 feet out, step back from the ball about 8 feet to double your field of vision before bending down to inspect the line. Walk around to the other side of the cup and get a read from about 8 feet. Don’t let anyone give you grief about wasting time; golf is about patience and focus – they can wait. Once you gauge the general direction of the slope from the ball to the cup, line up and take a few practice “swings”.
Don’t overly concern yourself with the idea of 1-putting the hole. If you end up doing it, you’re lucky, but from 8 feet or more, its rare to drill it, so rehearse two-putting on the practice greens with this simple drill.
Take some tees from your bag and create a 1-2 foot parameter around a hole. With about 5-10 golf balls from 8-10 feet out, just try to put the ball within the 1-2 foot ring (you can draw a chalk circle around the cup, but courses may frown upon it). After you get ALL the balls within the ring, move back 3-5 ft and try it again. Doing this for about 30 minutes 2 times a week will teach you how to smoothly stroke the ball when putting, and eliminate blasting the ball 8 feet past the hole, or leaving it far to short for an easy drop in.
Another drill you can add to this is placing a tee in the ground about 6 inches behind the ball (for short putts). Simply bring the putter back and try taping the tee with the back side of the putter. This will smooth out your stroke and keep you from overshooting the hole.
Play a game on the practice green. Take 10 balls and try to two putt all of them from 8-10 feet out. Do the same from 13-15 feet and one more time from 20+ feet out. When you’re done, finish your practice with 10 5-footers.
Remember, one-putting doesn’t happen to often — so don’t rely on it. Instead, practice getting yourself close enough with the first put for an easy drop-in on the second. You’ll love the way your score card looks if you follow this method.
For more, check out this simple drill demonstration by Mike Cochran. Practice this for 30 minutes once a week and you’ll see those dreaded 3-putts disappear from your game.