If you’re looking to drop putts, or make more, look no further.
Setting out to use a practice putting green can be somewhat daunting. You want to get it right, and missing a putt can be devastating, missing them over and over again is just going to be demoralising.
But, as we all know, failure is a big part of success. You have to miss a few to make a few.
The questions still remains. How do you use a practice putting green effectively to improve your game, improve your putting, and save your scorecard.
The practice putting green doesn’t have to be the less fun cousin of the driving range, there are plenty of ways to keep practice on the putting practice green fun and useful.
You want to feel prepared for anything when you pull out your putter, not assuming the worst, so we’ve prepared 4 of our favourite putting drills and 4 great tips on how to use a practice putting green effectively!
Let’s get started!
4 Putting Practice Green Drills
1. Up and down
This is not only a great drill to prepare for you so many different putting angles, but it’s also my personal favourite.
Here’s how it’s done:
- Set up on the boundary, or the apron, of the putting green with your pitching wedge.
- Take 10 balls and pitch all ten as close as you can to pin. You’re not trying to sink these pitches, you’re just looking to set yourself up for a nice and easy putt.
- Once you’ve made every shot onto the green, head in with your putter and try and sink 10 putts.
The more you practice this drill, the more you will see yourself improve. Take a notebook and record how well you do. Looking back at this will make it clear how much you’re improving!
The goal of this drill is to increase your confidence when you step onto the green or to the apron.
You don’t want to think or hope that you can make a shot, you want to know that you can.
That’s why you should put the hours in now at the practice putting green before you make a mistake on the course.
2. The One handed Putt
While this drill should hopefully also boost your confidence on the green, if done correctly it will also improve your putting swing.
Here’s how it’s done:
- Set up as many balls as you want to around one hole on the putting practice green.
- Take your normal putting stance, grip the club with both hands, and then remove the hand closest to your target, or your non-dominant hand.
This is a fairly simple drill but you might be surprised how difficult it can be to make a good putt with only one hand.
When putting, you want your arms to be straight throughout the stroke, like a pendulum.
This drill will help you reinforce that position throughout the swing, as normally you have the pressure of the two arms pushing against one another to keep them straight.
If you can putt consistently well with only one arm, not only will your stroke improve, but your accuracy will improve, something that is essential on the green.
3. Putt Behind the hole
Beginners may find this drill more tricky to get right than our previous drills, but it’s definitely worth a shot.
Here’s how it’s done:
- Lay a club down parallel to the hole and about 2-3 ft behind it.
- Set yourself up wherever on the green you find challenging, around 10-15ft for this drill is probably enough.
- Now, make putts to the hole. You’re aiming for the ball to stop behind the hole without touching the club, in that 2-3ft gap.
- If the ball lands in the hole, it’s not the end of the world, but try again until you can land 10 balls all in the space behind the hole
This drill is all about distance control. If you can consistently place balls in this box, you’re putting with enough power to sink your putt – the accuracy can come later with other drills and extended practice.
4. The Clockface
This drill is actually favoured by none other than Phil Mickelson, who apparently completes it before every round he plays.
Here’s how it’s done:
- Take 12 balls and set them up around a hole like an expanding square.
- Each ball will be one of four points in a square with the hole as the centre of every square. It can also help to look it like an X-shape with the hole being the point of intersection; make sure the balls are evenly spaced.
- Now, make four putts into the hole starting with the 4 balls closest to the pin, moving around the hole clockwise, and expanding out.
This drill will help you make a lot of putts in a short amount of time, and help you practice your distance control.
As always, confidence is key in golf, and that kind of confidence can only come from dedicated practice.
4 Tips for the Practice Putting Green
Now we’ve gone over a few drills you can try on the putting practice green, we’ve also compiled some general tips you can use to improve.
While these aren’t necessarily drills, they’re still practice, and will always be helpful if you’re trying to improve!
1. Long Putts
Unless you have sniper accuracy with every club apart from your putter, there’s a chance that you might sometimes hit your ball further from the pin than you want it to be.
Since this is a fairly common occurrence, it’s helps to be prepared for it.
Just start making longer and longer putts when using the practice putting green. Long putts are far more difficult and force you to learn how to read the break of the green if you ever hope to improve.
However, don’t only practice long putts. We’ve all missed one from under a foot away from the hole, don’t let it happen again!
2. Learn new Putting techniques
It’s always useful to learn new things, even if you don’t intend on using them.
If you’re just stepping onto the green, aiming for the pin and going for it, there’s a strong chance your putts are inconsistent and are the main cause of a suffering scorecard.
There are plenty of techniques you can sue to read greens and make sure you understand how the green will break and influence the trajectory of your putt.
For example, try AimPoint.
AimPoint putting is a quick technique that can help you read greens quickly and effectively. While it might not change your putting stroke, it will definitely start to help you approach the green in a more tactical manner.
You could also try Plumb Bobbing, a similar technique that can help you read the break of a green so that you can plan your shot accordingly.
3. Breath out as you putt
This tip is especially useful for any golfers that know they hold a lot of tension in their swing.
Tenison can be the death of a good golf swing, and can even cause the dreaded yips if not dealt with.
If that’s you, then there’s one quick fix to try when using the practice putting green: Breath out.
As you swing through the ball breath out. This should relieve some of the tension in your swing and hopefully you’ll putt better.
However, there’s a reason you’re doing this on the practice putting green rather than the green during a game.
Breathing out and letting your body relax as you swing may affect your swing plane, which can affect the direction and trajectory of your stroke.
The idea behind this tip is that if you do it enough, you should hopefully just always hold a relaxed position when stepping up to the ball on the green.
Tiger Woods has previously spoken about how he held a lot of tension in his putting stroke by gripping the club too tightly, and how he learned to hold the club with a much more delicate grip.
A weaker grip on your club can actually be a great thing if done correctly. It can help you feel the movement of your club more accurately and adjust more precisely to ensure you aren’t missing your target due to a clubface that was improperly angled.
4. Slow and Steady
This can be a great swing thought if you struggle with your distance control when putting.
Don’t rush it!
One of the main problems that people complain about with their putting is that they have a jabby kind of motion. That motion comes from not feeling confident and letting the nerves take over.
Take a deep breath – a slow putting stroke can be super effective, your backswing will determine the distance of your putt, you don’t need a rapid putting stroke to cover good distance.
So, those have been our 4 practice putting green drills and tips!
Hopefully you can take these with you to your local club and head straight for the practice putting green.
As with everything, the more time you put into something, the more reward!