Limit three-putts by determining what areas of your putting need work with an effective practice routine
You can waste a lot of strokes off of the tee box. Similarly, you can rack up unneeded shots by missing greens or hitting bladed chip shots. But if there’s one place where average golfers can quickly cut strokes from their scores, it’s been proven to be on the green.
When golfers first come into GOLFTEC, 75 percent say they three-putt at least twice per round. If you fall into this group, you have room for fast improvement!
Unless you know exactly what’s causing your putting problems, not only will you continue to add strokes to your score but any time you do dedicate to practice won’t be effective. Luckily, we have the perfect exercise to pinpoint exactly where your putting needs work.
Read, speed and direction
There are three skills that go into putting: green reading, distance control and starting direction. If one of these is off, you’re setting yourself up to three-putt. So we need to put all three to the test.
To perform this drill, place a ball 15 to 20 feet away from a hole on the practice putting green. Find a putt with a slight break to it and place a tee in the ground even with the hole at the apex of how much you think the putt will break. This will serve as the line you are aiming to start your putt on.
Next, take two more tees and set up a “gate” on your intended line about a foot in front of the ball, with the tees roughly 4 inches apart. The idea is to roll the ball through the gate, which will give you immediate feedback on your starting direction.
With everything set up, you’re now ready to judge how well you accomplish the skills of read, speed and direction. All that’s left is to roll a few putts and see what happens.
If your putts are constantly coming up short of the hole, you need to spend time on distance control. If you hit the gate right off the bat, it’s time to work on face and path control. And if your ball didn’t break like you thought it would, you need to practice green reading.
As you go through this exercise you may discover you need to work on all three putting skills. That’s perfectly okay! The goal here is to simply test yourself and determine what you need to practice.
To demonstrate this exercise, Brad Skupaka hit the putting green with Golf Channel’s Paige MacKenzie in a segment that aired on ‘Morning Drive.’ Check out the video below to see this drill in action and get to work on eliminating those three-putts!