Monday, January 30, 2012

Line Putting

For seeing line and speed on 3-7 foot putts
What to do:
Grab 5 balls and your putter.  Pick a putt and drop one ball down 3 feet away from the edge of the hole.  Drop the next ball down about 4 feet away from the hole, staying on the line of the original putt.  Drop a third ball down at 5 feet… you should now begin to see the balls form a line in ‘single file’ fashion.  Repeat at 6 and 7 feet.  Once you’ve arranged each ball along a line directed at the hole, start at the 3-footer and knock it in.  Step back and make the 4-footer.  Repeat until you’ve made all 5 putts in the line in a row.  If you miss, arrange the balls back into the original line and start over. 

Try this first on a straight putt and then move on to a putt with more break.  If you do choose a putt with break, make sure the line follows the break directly toward the hole.  For example, if the putt you choose breaks from right-to-left, the line should arc out to the right back to the center.  The balls should be placed along this break line. 

How I did:
When I do this drill I will complete this drill on all four sides of the hole.  This mixes up the speed at which I must hit the putt and also the type of break I must play.  Once I’ve finished say, the ‘straight’ putt I do not return to it, even if I move on to the next line and miss.  I only start over at the line I’m currently on. 

This is a great game for seeing you’re the line of your putt more clearly.  After completing this drill you’ll have a greater feel for both the speed of a short putt and how that speed corresponds to line.  It’s great for confidence because you’ll fill the cup with 5 putts in a row.

No Scaling.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Shot-making and visualization

This game can be played alone or with multiple people.  This week I'll offer the 1-Player version.  (Look for the multi-player version in the coming weeks)

What to do:
After warming up, grab a 6-iron and prepare to hit 9 consecutive shots, each combining different heights and curvatures (see below). 

1. High               Straight
2. Medium         Straight
3. Low               Straight
4. High               Draw
5. Medium         Draw
6. Low               Draw
7. High               Fade
8. Medium         Fade
9. Low               Fade

Each time you attempt a shot and do not get both the height and curve correct, give yourself a letter as you would in the basketball version.  For instance, if you pull off the 'High Straight' shot and then attempt the 'Medium Straight' and accidentally fade it, then you have an "H".  Make it to the last shot, the 'Low Fade', without spelling "HORSE" and you've completed the game.  If you're a HORSE before getting to the last shot then start over.

How I did:
To be honest I haven't yet tried the 1-player version of this drill yet :)... thought it up just now, and I am anxious to give it a try.  Look for my results very soon!

Beginner- Avoid spelling "HOLEINONE"
Intermediate- Avoid spelling "BIRDIES"

Tour- Avoid spelling "PIG"

Monday, January 16, 2012

Leap Frog Putting

Great for feel and gauging speed

What to do:

Grab a golf ball, your putter, 2 tees and a handful of ball markers or coins.  Go to a spot on the practice green where you will have room to hit a 40 foot putt... it should be relatively flat.  Put one tee about 20 feet (7 paces) in the ground in front of you.  Next, place a tee at 40 feet (13 paces) in front of you along the same line.  Now you are ready to start the drill.  Begin by hitting a putt just past the first tee at 20 feet.  If you do in fact make it past, mark the spot where it stopped, and attempt to hit a second putt a little farther than the spot you marked.  Repeat in this fashion.  Try to fit as many putts in between the 20 and 40 feet boundaries, hitting each one a little farther than the previous.  In other words, 'leap frog' each putt you hit by hitting the next putt past the mark from the one before it.  If at any point you not hit a putt past the spot where the previous one stopped, game over.  If, as you get closer to 40 feet, you hit a putt past the 40 feet mark, game over.  How many can you get in between 20 and 40 feet?

How I did:
6 was my number yesterday, before I hit a putt past the 40 feet mark.  Defnitely room for improvement.  I really like this drill because it zeros in my speed and really gets me focused on solid contact.  With solid contact comes a consistent roll, which in turn leads to better control over your distance for a putt.  

Doing this one with your eyes closed can add another element to this drill,  enhancing your feel on each putt, helping build better muscle memory.  Try closing your eyes just before you hit the putt... open them after the ball has been struck. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

21 for Chipping

Fun points game that sharpens your chipping

What to do:
Pick either your lob wedge or sand wedge, whichever you'd prefer to practice with, and grab 5 balls.  Drop 4 tees around the chipping green at 4 different locations, giving yourself 4 diverse shots.  Start at the first tee and hit all 5 balls, going through your full routine.  Then measure with your club how far away each shot ended up and total your points for that hole (points below).  Repeat this at all 4 stations.  The point system is as follows:  

Over 2 club-lengths- 0pts
1-2 club lengths from the hole- 1pt
Inside 1 club length- 2pts
In the hole- 3pts

To finish you must score 21 or higher.  Try to finish within the 4 selected holes... if you do it means you averaged within 2 club lengths on every shot.  See explanation below:

5 shots * 4 stations = 20 total shots... 1 point for every shot within 2 club lengths, and if every one is within that range that gives you 20 points... to get 21 requires at least one  2-pointer.  If you finish at or above 40 it means your average shot was within 1 club length!

How I did:
I used my 54 degree, selected 4 holes that were all a little different, and played from a drop rather than giving myself preferred lies.  After 4 holes, my score was 29.  Your results may be different depending on the types of holes you select and the types of lies you give yourself.  

Scaling:  To scale for this one, vary each hole's difficulty depending on your skill level.  This requires some subjective judgment.  Make sure that getting to 21 is not too easy... challenge yourself to get something out of this one.   

Monday, January 2, 2012

Long, Medium, Short

All around putting

What to do:
Take one ball and your putter to the putting green and pick a long putt (over 30 feet).  Go through you full pre-shot routine and then hit the putt.  Finish if you miss, and make note of how many putts it took to hole out... you'll be keeping score for this drill.  Now, on the second hole pick a medium length putt (15-25 feet) and repeat the process.  Once you've holed out on the second hole, pick a short putt (5-8 feet) for the third.  Repeat the process again.  Play 9 holes in this fashion, alternating from long, to medium, to short, then back to long again and so on.  When you are finished you should have completed 3 long holes, 3 medium, and 3 short.  Aim for 15 (3-under the par of 18 if every hole is a par 2).

How I did:
Had to play this game twice before getting to -3.  I feel like I'm really in playing mode after this one.  Hitting different length putts and having to post a number under a little bit of pressure simulates what we actually encounter on the course. The mind stays engaged, making it extremely productive practice. 

Beginners- Aim for even-par, 18.
Intermediate- Go for 2-under, 16.