Unlike the full swing, putting requires the utmost in limited and controlled movements. Any swaying, lifting or sliding can cause you to miss putts. The same holds true for your eyes. Any deviation from the golf ball through impact can lead to a variety of mis-hits that not only affect your aim, but your distance control as well.
A good way to help train your eyes to stay stationed over the ball for as long as possible is to practice a drill I like to call, Show me the money! All you need is a coin (pennies work great). First, find a flat spot on the green, and then place a coin on the ground. Then, place a golf ball directly on top of the coin.
Now that you have a ball and a coin below it, putt as you normally would, only this time, concentrate on seeing the coin after your finish the putt. By focusing on the coin, you'll find that your stroke is more likely to continue accelerating through the ball, and all of a sudden, it will become easier to gauge the proper speed and distance.
Now, why does this drill work so effectively? The Show me the money! drill does two things: First, it keeps your eyes steady, which then helps to stabilize the whole body. And, by focusing on the coin and not the ball, you're more inclined to make a smooth, nonhitting motion through the ball. Second, this drill will help prevent you from lifting out of your putting stance prematurely, causing you to hit the putt off-center and off-target.
Continue this drill from varying distances, and be sure to see the coin after every putt. A great way to remember to keep your eyes still is to listen to the ball fall in, not watch the ball go in. And speaking of watching, when tuning in to this year's Masters, pay attention to how many players stand as the ball trickles toward the hole. Most hold the finish until the ball comes to rest!
A 15-year veteran of the LPGA Tour, Pam Wright teaches at We-Ko-Pa GC in Arizona. For more info, visit pamwrightgolf.com.