“The better you putt, the bolder you play.” – Don January
By Ian Hardie
You may have noticed if you have been reading Golf Habits for a while that I haven’t published too many any articles about putting lately
Although you will find over 30 articles that relate to improving your golf putting here
In reality, it’s been more than a year since I have written about the part of the game that is responsible for a fair chunk of your golf score and as usual the reason that I haven’t published any articles about putting over that period – is not because I have run out of things to write about
Basically, over the 30 years or so that I have been playing and teaching the game of golf I have noticed that most golfers can actually putt fairly well compared to their ability at the other parts of the game
Especially when it comes to those short putts that most golfers finish each hole with
It’s almost as if that’s the one thing that most golfers come with a ‘built in ability’ to do
So to my mind spending massive amounts of time focussing on putting is a bit like suggesting that you breathe a few thousand times a day – you are going to do it pretty well anyway – unless of course you are trying to play golf like this!
However as you will have no doubt experienced on the golf course from time to time
Every so often you will have a round where you will struggle to get those short putts in as often as you would like
So today I’m going to let you in on a little putting practice secret that most good golf pros know about but I don’t think that many other golfers are even aware of
Or if they are, they don’t take much time to do this stunningly effective little practice
Even though the bloke in the image above – who was able to putt pretty well ‘back in his day’
Did it a lot when he played a bit of golf, winning 139 professional tournaments and 14 majors
In fact, it’s such a good thing to do that I think I’d like you to keep it ‘under your hat’ as it were – so if anybody asks what you are doing when you do it in public anywhere I’d like you to tell them
“That you are just messing around with something you saw Tiger Woods do once”
Like a lot of things in golf – this practice drill is so simple to do but at the same time it’s an extremely powerful and quick way to really build up your skills, while getting a real feeling for exactly what should be happening when you do every short putt
Sound interesting to you?
The best part is that you can do this without going near the golf course at all
All you need to find is a flat surface like a carpet somewhere – with the only other things that you require being your golf putter and three golf balls
You don’t even need a target or a hole to aim at as the idea you are working on is to build up the control in each of your separate arms / hands which will then combine to give one smooth putting action
Why are you doing this you may wonder?
What I have found over the years is that most golfers – actually have a difference or an imbalance of strength and control between each of their arms / hands
This greatly contributes to the experience of golfers – ‘just missing that short putt!’
As most often the stronger of (or more developed) the golfers arms / hands ‘takes over’ during the putt which has the effect of ever so slightly changing the direction the putter face is aiming just prior to hitting the golf ball and as a result the putt just misses to the side
Does that all make sense to you?
In fact thinking about it – I have yet to meet any golfer that has a naturally perfect balance of strength and control in each arm (I don’t think I ever will actually) when putting
So let’s get on with getting yours to be as balanced as it possibly can
What I want you to do is set yourself up for a putt that is around 3 to 4 feet in length using each of the three golf balls
Prior to hitting the first ball I want you to remove one of your hands from the putter grip – then do a couple of practice strokes just holding the putter with one hand
Does it feel like you have a lot of control or is it somewhat wobbly?
After you have done a few more practice strokes I want you to putt the first ball like that with the one hand only
At this point it isn’t relevant where the ball goes – just experience the feeling
Now I want you to grip the putter with both hands again and then remove whichever hand stayed on the first time
Repeat the process of a few practice strokes and then finish with a one handed putt
Have you noticed after doing a few practice strokes and a putt with each individual hand that one of your arms or hands has more strength and control than the other?
That imbalance is probably the main reason that you miss the odd short putt!
Finally, I want you to put both hands back onto the putter grip, have a few practice strokes and then putt the last ball with both hands on the putter grip like normal
Does your putting stroke feel different from before – more in control perhaps?
Ideally you would repeat the sequence above until you get to the point where you have the same amount of control with whichever hand you use individually and start to feel a massive amount of control over your putting stroke when you put both hands on the putter grip
Which means that I’m going to leave it there for now as spending some time going through that ‘one hand drill’ and addressing the imbalance that you will have no doubt found
Is the first step that you need to take before I get onto the next point that I want to cover
That will allow you to make more short putts on the golf green