January Coach of the Month Brad Hunter is back with advice on how to combine two putting drills to master distance control and eliminate three-putts.
By Brad Hunter
There’s an age-old question when it comes to putting of what’s more important, line or speed?
While line is of course key to holing putts, it’s ultimately a lack of the correct speed often contributing to your three-putts. Lower-handicap players know this, and thus focus heavily on distance control more than anything from further than a few feet away.
To help my students with this, I like to first use a one-to-two ratio in teaching stroke tempo – meaning the putter swings twice as fast on the way through as it did on the way back – to help create a simple, consistent rhythm that can lead to a better mastery of distance. I then like using a combination of two drills to bring home the full understanding of how better putters get it done.
The Lag-It Drill
What it helps you accomplish: This drill primarily works to improve your distance control by focusing on speed over anything else, and can be used for varying lengths of putts.
How to do it: Lay any club about 18 inches directly behind the hole (perpendicular to the line of the putt) and try to hit putts that go past the hole, but do not hit the club.
Tip: An effective way to practice this is hitting 10 putts at each distance of 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 feet, in that order, while awarding yourself:
- 1 point for a putt stopping past the hole and before the club
- 2 points for a made putt
- 0 points for putts stopping before the hole or hitting the club past
The accountability of keeping score not only illustrates your proficiency and marked improvement through multiple sessions, but also adds the element of performing under pressure which most certainly helps when you’re doing the real thing on the course. Check it out below:
The Ladder Drill
What it helps you accomplish: This drill helps you quickly grasp speed control (and a more-defined focus on aim) by putting from varying shorter distances in succession.
How to do it: Starting with a 3-footer and working your way out, place a total of four to six balls a few feet apart from one another on the same line to the hole. Putt each in succession and notice the difference in needed speed for each, while also focusing on aim.
Tip: Notice the difference in needed speed for each putt, while also having a defined focus on aim to hole each putt in succession. This will help you have greater speed control over your shorter putts.
See the Ladder Drill in action below:
Using the combination of both
Maintaining a primary focus of distance control over line, use the Lag Drill’s laid-down club and point system, and the Ladder Drill’s succession of putts from increasing distances, to create a combination of the two drills every time you’re on the practice putting green. I can all but guarantee that, before long, this will result in both closer lags and more holed shorter putts for a drastic improvement in your putting!