by Dave Dolengowski, PGA Senior Instructor, Marriott Golf Academy
On your next visit to the practice putting green try this “Make your Statement” putting drill, it will help you judge slope better, read greens better, and develop a repeating stroke along a straight line.
Select a putt of approximately 20 to 30 feet. Select a putt that has slope similar to the greens you play on the course. You will need 3 balls for this drill. Set 1 ball down for the first putt with the 2 extra balls fairly close and retrievable for the next 2 putts (Figure 1).
Even though you are on the practice green you need to simulate that you are on the course and the putt has some meaning or it counts.
Once you have painted the picture, “Make Your Statement” by placing a tee in the ground at the point where you think the putt will start bending and moving off the straight line. Make sure you stick the tee in the ground slightly to the left of the intended path on a left to right breaking putt and slightly to the right of the intended path on a right to left breaking putt so the ball does not hit the tee.
Remember, no matter how much break the putt has, treat all putts as straight putts.
Critical Feedback and Learning
Make sure you have a meaningful rehearsal stroke to get the feel of the length of swing you want to control your distance. Now get committed to that feel and rolling the ball to the tee and putt your first ball. If your ball started on that line, broke at the tee but you came up short, the fix is easy. You didn’t have the right length of swing for the putt. Make your adjustment on the next ball. If you had the right distance but the ball ended up to far to the right of the hole, you didn’t read enough break and you need to move the tee for the next ball. If you noticed the ball did not start on the intended line then we have a path or face angle issue that needs to be fixed. In this case, more time needs to be spent on developing a repeatable stroke along a straight line. Learn and experience from each ball and have fun discovering.