Short Game Games

Lower your scores by making practice fun

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Putt ’Til You Drop

Putting from all directions to the same cup will force you to work on right-to-left and left-to-right breaks.

One of the absolute basics of good scoring is solid putting from short to medium range. If you’re confident from these distances, it will take pressure off all your other short-game shots and make you a better lag putter as well.

To get started, go around a hole placing tees a step apart, all at a distance that’s about four feet from the hole. Make eight stations (marked by tees) around the hole and begin anywhere you like. Try to make at least four in a row, all the while concentrating on your alignment and speed control. Every time you make four consecutive putts, start over and try to make four more. Don’t quit until you can make two sets of four at every station.

Once you’re confident with the four-footers, increase your distance one foot and repeat the game. Continue moving back until you get to the 10-foot mark, which I guarantee will be quite a challenge.

The wrists and elbows should maintain the same angles through the entire stroke.
Improved putting is probably the quickest way for players of any level to lower their scores. Even on the PGA Tour, putting rules—next time any player wins a big tournament, check his putting stats. You can be assured he’s probably one of the best, if not the best, putter in the tournament that week.

There are many different ways to stroke a putt, just as there are many different ways to make a full swing. However, the modern stroke tends to feature very little wrist or elbow movement during the stroke. The putterhead should be powered by a rocking motion of the shoulders, with the distance of the backswing and downswing being the same. It’s  best if you allow the clubhead to open and close naturally during the stroke

Take a look at the structure I’ve created in my setup position. My elbows are slightly bent, and my wrists are solid. Maintaining these positions will create consistency.
Playing games and doing drills are great ways to improve your putting prowess because they help make practice fun and can instill the proper techniques. However, it’s extremely important to have a clear picture of what you want to accomplish during the putting stroke before you spend a lot of time ingraining bad fundamentals and troublesome tendencies.

At right, you can see a good setup position. My stance is comfortable and not too narrow, providing a balanced, stable base. My arms are hanging comfortably, though bent at the elbows, and my wrists are slightly cupped. It’s critical to maintain these solid positions throughout the stroke, particularly through impact. If you allow these positions to break down, your ballstriking and overall consistency will suffer. Notice how my eyes are, more or less, directly over the ball (not too far inside or outside). If you want to be able to aim properly, this is a must.

Make the mistake of playing the ball too far forward in your stance, and your consistency will suffer.

In a good golf swing, the clubhead is released freely through impact. The same should occur in a good putting stroke. Here, you can see the club moving back to the inside.


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