Pre-Round Putting Practice
By Dr. T. J. Tomasi, Keiser University College of Golf Senior Faculty and Director of Research
When I watch golfers practice putting before a round, here’s what I often see: They throw down five balls and, from 15 feet, they leave the first putt short, pull the next two, push the fourth and crash the fifth attempt three feet by the hole. When you’re warming up like this, it’s not long before the brain gets the message: “The chances of a putt going in are not good, so I’m not going to make many putts today.” Thus, the golfer goes to the course perfectly prepared to miss everything but the gimmes and the knock-aways.
You can change this around simply by doing these two things:
1. Practice distance, but not to a cup. Most three putts occur because of poor distance, not bad direction: If by some magic (or some practice) you always produced the right distance on your putts, you’d be a heck of a putter. Look at it this way: Unless there’s a huge, slippery break, it’s hard to miss a putt left or right by 3 feet, but it’s easy to leave one 3 feet short or long.
Here is a drill to develop your touch for distance. Lay three shafts on the putting green at intervals of 10, 20, and 30 feet from where you’re putting. Then drop three balls and putt to the shafts. First, putt all three balls to the same shaft. Next, stroke a ball to the 30-foot shaft, the next ball to the 20, and the last to the 10. Then change the intervals between the shafts.
Notice that you are not putting to a cup and therefore have not seen a ball ‘not go in.’ You may have putted long or short of your target shaft, but you haven’t “missed” in the traditional sense.
2. Finish your warmup by seeing the putts go in the hole: Just before you end your session, find a level 3-footer and ram four or five putts dead center into the middle of the cup.
Preparing to play in this way seeds your brain with the image of putts going in the hole – an image every good player has learned to cultivate.
There is no better image than seeing the ball go in the hole just before you tee off.
If you’d like to study with Dr. Tomasi and other PGA Master Professionals, contact The College of Golf today.