Firstly, I’m not a big believer in ‘quick fixes’.
Golf is a game where we get out of it what we put in, usually in the form of hours and hours of practice. However, I will try and add a few helpful pointers that I believe can help improve your game if you get out there and practice them enough.
Invest in a chalkline!
Here’s a picture of how I regularly practice my short putting. The chalkline is an inexpensive, small & lightweight piece of equipment that I always carry with me in my golf bag. They can be purchased from most hardware stores and are really easy to use. The hardest part of this drill is to find a perfectly straight putt. Once the straight putt line has been marked onto the green (don’t worry, being chalk it will wash away in the rain or as soon as the sprinklers are switched on) see how easy it is to roll the ball along it and into the hole.
The most important thing with short putts is to pick a line and then stick to it, no second-guessing or last minute steering of the ball. You may notice there is a tee peg stuck in the back of the hole. That’s what i’m aiming at. I spend very little time worrying about my stroke. Instead I try hard to focus on my target, in this case the tee. Have a practice stroke or two whilst still looking at the tee peg, then align the putter to the clear white line between your ball and the hole and knock it in!
In a way you could argue that this is cheating. Out on the golf course you don’t have the same advantage of seeing a straight line along which to putt. However, once you stand and hole 20, 50 or 100 putts without missing confidence soon begins to grow and if it gets you into the habit of looking at the target and hitting it there it can only be a good thing!
For those of you who are prone to getting a bad back, try moving away after every 10 putts or so. Standing up and hitting some longer putts (one of the other putting drills I will mention over the coming months) or chipping. Come back to the short putt drill and keep hearing the ball go into the hole. Hear it go in? Not see it go in? That’s another story all together, I’ll cover that next time.
If you’re wondering what the towel is for it’s to stop me damaging the green, I practice this drill for a seriously long time! Remember what I said at the start about getting out what you put in? Ask yourself, when was the last time you saw me miss a short putt and when did you last miss one?
I just found this short video I made back in July last year. It was recorded from a few angles so I could see what my stroke and routine looked like. Notice how I make the practice strokes whilst looking at the hole and then don’t look to see if the ball goes in or not. The camera angle from down on the green shows how my eyes stay rooted to the spot where the ball just left. Turning to see if the ball is going into the hole rather than listening to it going in is one of the biggest faults I see in golfers that miss short putts. Try listening for the putt to go in next time you go out to practice your putting. I’m sure with a bit of practice you’ll find it’s not too hard to do and more putts will rattle as a result 😉