My Favorite Tips & Drills

Improve fast with my top ten tips

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Ask any great putter, and he'll tell you that speed is the most critical variable when it comes to putting. Your speed can change the way the ball breaks, so if you don't have the right speed, your directional control will suffer, too. So, here's what I like to do to help improve my students' speed control.

In this exercise, simply find a fairly flat and straight putt on the putting green. Start at about 10 feet from the hole and put a towel or glove in the cup. Putt with your eyes closed and, before you open your eyes to see where the ball went, see how accurately you can guess where the ball ended up relative to the hole—or even if you made it! As you practice this and get more accurate at your guesses, you'll be developing the essential skills for great distance control—a better sense of the target and feel for your stroke. Once you head out onto the course, use this exercise during your round to make more putts!


It's not uncommon to want to look up and see what happens to the ball after you stroke a putt. Even the best players in the world sometimes do this. Only thing is, when you think too much about where the ball goes after you stroke it, you'll probably come out of position and make an awkward, off-line stroke.

If this sounds like you, do the "Back! Hit! Stop!" drill in putting. Challenge yourself to get your voice right on the points of the transition, impact and all the way to when the putter stops. If you can keep your focus until the putter stops moving, then the ball will already be in the hole. And even if it doesn't go in, it won't be because you distracted yourself.

Dan Martin, PGA, is the head instructor at Rustic Canyon Golf Course in Moorpark, California. For more information, visit

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