Over the last 7 years, I have come to the realization that speed control is far more important than hitting it on the perfect line, and I can prove it.  Take 5 balls and roll them down the longest hallway in your home.  Try and ladder them out evenly long to short.  I bet you didn’t worry about hitting the wall at all, did you?  I bet your ladder doesn’t look perfect either.  Most players cannot even see a good line without good speed control.  I consider good speed control as the ability to roll the ball past the hole the same amount each time.

Putt to the BeatNow, the distance you roll it past is up to you.  I figure it out for each of my students like this; I ask them,” What is the longest putt that you can make 100% off the time?  I mean, pressures on, for a million dollars, never miss.”  Usually my students say somewhere around 1 to 2 feet.  Whatever that distance is, that is the distance you should try and roll it past the hole.

A good putting drill to practice this is to use a driver’s license instead of a hole.  Even if you make it, you can see the ball roll through the card and out to a stop.  You can hit putts from varying distances to the same card and watch the ball roll to a stop.  What you will find is that this is really hard, and the reason is that your putting tempo might be all over the map.

Two things control putting speed; the length of your stroke and your stroke speed or tempo.  Better putters have the same stroke tempo for every putt.  They just vary their stroke length.  A good example of this is a conductor of an orchestra.  The conductor will always move their hands to the beat, but they will make bigger moves to get the orchestra to play louder and smaller moves to make them play softer, but they never lose the beat.  A lot of my students vary their stroke length AND their tempo.  This makes controlling the speed of a putt very hard.

To fix this, use a simple metronome to help keep the beat.  There are many free metronome apps for your phone as well as training metronomes from companies like Eyeline Golf.  Once you have one, we need to find a tempo that matches you.  Most putters find that between 80 and 95 beats per minute is perfect.  Experiment a little to find one that works for you.  Once you have it, DON’T CHANGE IT.  Practice at that tempo all the time.  Go back to the credit card putting game and use the metronome.  You will find that after a while you will control your speed better and reduce the wobbles, miss-hits and dreaded yips because you are now putting to the beat.  The best way to use it is to start the stroke on beat 1, hit the ball on beat 2 and hold your finish for beats 3 and 4.  Now all you have to do is vary your stroke length and that is much easier than changing your tempo all the time.


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