It is a painful scenario that every golfer knows. You drive the ball well and hit more fairways than normal. Your approach shots find the greens with regularity. You lag putt to within make-able range. And, then, you can’t find the bottom of the hole. Your ball-striking puts you on the verge of a great round but you watch it all fade away due to your inability to make short putts, the so-called knee-knockers.
Corey Fields, a PGA Class A Professional based in North Myrtle Beach, SC, offers his assistance for better consistency on the critical short ones. Fields says it is the “small things” that cause problems and can be corrected with practice on proper mechanics.
- Develop a pre-shot routine – Develop a routine where you make the same amount of practice strokes and get settled into your set-up. The best players in the world all have a routine and can be timed almost to the exact second. This will relax you and make short pressure putts easier.
- Proper alignment – Aim the putter face first then your body.
- Spot aim – Pick a spot a few inches in front of the putter on your intended line and focus on starting the ball over that spot.
- Be relaxed – Use light grip pressure and control your breathing.
- Trust your read – Be confident in the line you choose.
- Keep your lower body still – Moving your legs or rear will cause the putter to get off-line and inconsistent contact
- Shorten your stroke – A good rule of thumb is to take the putter back 25% and finish the stroke at 75%. This will keep momentum going towards your target and you will sink more putts.
- Keep your head down and don’t peek – Listen for the ball to go into the cup. If you peek early you will open your shoulders and risk not having center contact
- See a club fitter and get fitted for the proper putter – Most people just buy a putter off the rack. Take advantage of a quality putter fitting and get the correct length, lie angle, grip size and model.
Spend as much time on the putting green as you do on the driving range. You hit many more putts in a round than you hit the driver. You have to develop good practice habits to be a great putter. Following are a few helpful drills.
Rubber Band Drill
Take two rubber bands and wrap them (vertically) around your putter face just wider than the sweet spot. This drill will help promote more center contact on your putter face.
Take 10 balls and put them in a circle around the hole at a 3-foot distance. Try to make all 10 putts before leaving the putting green.
Two Club Drill
Take two clubs and lay them on the ground the width of your putter face. Practice putting between the two shafts. If you hit one of the shafts your path is off.
Author bio: Corey Fields, originally from Kansas City, MO, is the General Manager/Master Club Fitter at the Callaway Performance Center in North Myrtle Beach, SC. He lives in Pawleys Island, SC, with his wife Becky and daughter Lyla.