Better Putting - Off-season putting tips
Okay, so it's rainy outside, there is snow on the ground, or you are stuck in your office and can't escape to play some golf. Don't fret - it is the perfect time to work on your putting. You can groove a tour-calibre putting stroke from your office or living room that you can take with you to the golf course. Here are three great drills that will definitely improve your stroke and your score!
1. Think target
A basketball player isn't thinking mechanics when he his launching the basketball toward the net. A baseball pitcher is not thinking mechanics when he hurls the baseball into his catcher's mitt. If they were thinking mechanics they would greatly reduce the chance of hitting their target. As humans, we are blessed with the brain power to simply look at our target and toss, launch or chuck an object at it without having to think about the bio-mechanics involved. Yet, stick a putter in someone's hand and all they can think about is "keep your head down", "take the putter straight back", "don't decelerate", "don't pull it", "don't push it", etc. etc. etc.
That thought process is not a great path to success. Rather, you've gotta free your mind to simply let it happen. A great drill for this is to practice hitting putts while looking at the target. Setup a 5 footer, setup to the ball, and hit ten shots where at impact you are looking at the target. It is an amazingly freeing experience and I am sure you will be surprised by just how well you do. Now hit 5 putts while looking at the ball and try to mimic the stroke you made when you were looking at the target. Then repeat! This will get you back to the basics of putting, which is to have a point-and-shoot mentality.
2. Practice putting with your right hand (for right handed golfers)
The right wrist determines a lot in the putting stroke - direction, speed, loft, face angle - and there are many great players who struggle with keeping that right wrist quiet. I don't believe that it is that necessary, for more information read my article "The best putting of your life". The right wrist should remain loose, relaxed and natural. If you practice putting with just your right hand, thinking only about target, you will feel how the right wrist acts and releases the putter face through impact. Hit putts with just your right hand and feel the amazing natural release of the putter head rotating during and after impact.
3. Gain confidence - it's hammer time!
Confidence is king when putting. An office or living room is a great place to instill confidence in your putting stroke. To do this, simply setup a cup (preferably a plastic one) three feet away, and practice hammering putts into it. Again, and again, and again repeat this drill. You'll notice that you miss very few and that, because you are hitting it hard, there is a natural confidence in your stroke. Confidence that you can take to the course knowing that you hammered thousands putts into the heart of your cup in your office all winter and almost never missed!
Try these drills and I am sure you will be a better putter when you bring your stroke out to the golf course!