Drive for show, putt for dough. We’ve all heard the phrase that rings so true throughout the game of golf.
Putting is like how your parents view the obnoxiously overachieving older sibling. No matter how good you do, it will never be good enough. It’s the one thing that can consistently help you put together solid rounds of golf. Yet the average golfer often neglects to practice putting. And, if they do, they often do not have drills or training aids that they do for their full swings.
Nearly every successful golfer, no matter if it’s at the junior, collegiate, or professional level, has putting drills and training aids they regularly use to help them with their stroke, alignment, green reading, or speed. These drills and training aids can vary widely, but the important thing is that everyone has something that works for them and that they use regularly.
I use six or seven drills and aids in my practice sessions, with at least one of them being used on a daily basis depending on what it is that I am trying work on with my putting at that time.
Two of my favorite drills/training aids are so easy and straightforward that anyone can do them. All you need is golf balls, a green, a putter, and an alignment stick. If you do not have an alignment stick, please do not spend the $20-$30 that they charge you at a golf store. Go to a store like Lowes or Home Depot, and they have them for less than $2.00, they’re usually marketed as driveway reflectors.
We have all heard about the “triangle” when it comes to putting. It is the shape that is made out of our arms and our shoulders. We are told that this triangle should remain solid and not break down throughout the stroke by simply rocking the shoulders instead of using our hands. Illustrated below is the “triangle”.
Although both drills are good for working on keeping the triangle intact, the first is designed specifically to focus on the triangle and the rocking of the shoulders. As you can see in the video, you want to place the alignment stick under your armpits. This will promote the use of the shoulders in the putting stroke instead of the hands and arms. When the shoulders dictate the movement of the stroke, the face is much more likely to return square to the target line at impact. That will cause a solid strike on the ball.
The second drill is a little bit more complicated and might not work with all models of putters.
One of the biggest advantages for this second drill I believe is the guys who are going to have to be switching here soon for the anchored putter to the conventional putter with the future rules change. This feeling of having the putter attached to their body, but still stroking a short putter will help them build confidence in putting with a short putter in hand as well as help eliminate any hitches or yips that their conventional short putter stroke might have.
As is the same with any drill, there are several keys to getting the most out of the exercise.
The first key is to do it! (Shocker) Many people spend their time reading about exercises and trying many different ones only to go back to practicing without any drills or trying a new one every day. Consistent practice with these drills will be critical for your improvement.
Ironically, the other key is in the opposite regard. Do not practice so much with the drills that you forget how to make a putting stroke without them! Drills are great for learning new feelings and helping us commit certain things to muscle memory. But, in the end, we cannot use them on the course and have to be able to function without them.
There are tons of drills and expensive training aids out there for putting. The two that I just went over are easy to learn, affordable, and they only require one alignment stick. Try them out next time you are out at your course practicing. Be sure to let me know how it goes.
If you have any questions, feel free to drop a comment here. Or send me a tweet @James_Feutz.