Try This Practice Drill to Develop a Good Putting Stroke

Golf ball falls into hole after being putted

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Putts between four and six feet are ones that we expect to make most of the time. But even the best tour professionals miss a significant percentage of putts from the six-foot range. So if you are missing a lot of putts from that range, don't get too frustrated. Instead, focus on improvement through simple drills such as the one here.

This practice drill can help golfers groove a better putting stroke and, therefore, make more putts. The drill is provided by golf instructor Mel Sole of Mel Sole Golf School in Myrtle Beach, S.C., a teacher known for keeping things simple for both students and readers.

"With intelligent practice, we can do something to increase our success rate on this length of putt," says Sole.

Set Up from Four Feet

Golfer practicing on putting green, low section
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To get started with this drill, take 10 golf balls to the practice green and choose a flat part of the green. Set up from about four feet away from the cup.

"It is important to practice a straight putt, because then you need only focus on the stroke and not on the break," Sole says.

Obviously, if you miss a straight putt you will know that you made a bad stroke; if you miss a breaking putt, it's possible that you made a good stroke but just had the wrong speed for the break. So it's important to pick a straight putt for this drill, because it's all about the stroke.

Take the Putter Straight Back

Courtesy of Mel Sole; used with permission

When you start putting these 10 golf balls, you'll keep three objectives in mind. The first is to make sure the putter head is going straight back (as in the photo here) on your backswing.

Stroke the Putter Straight Through, Keep Face Square

Courtesy of Mel Sole; used with permission

The second objective is to make sure your putter continues straight through (as in the photo here) on your follow-through after contact.

And the third objective: make sure your putter face is square to your line at impact.

"This is the most common fault with poor putters," Sole says of keeping the putter face straight, "and takes the most work and concentration. But will pay off huge if you have the determination to get it right."

On a four-foot putt with no break, you'll know if your stroke is offline or your putter face open or closed (instead of straight) because the ball will roll offline.

Work Up to Making 50 Putts In a Row

Practice Drill to Develop a Good Putting Stroke
Courtesy of Mel Sole; used with permission

Set yourself a goal for the number of putts that you can hole in a row. Start by making five in a row, do that a few times, then increase it to making 10 in a row. Start over anytime you miss. Gradually increase this goal until you can get up to 50 consecutive putts made. Remember, if you miss one you have to start over again!

This teaches you how to putt under pressure, because as you reach 45, 46, 47, 48, you really don't want to start at one again, so you must make a good stroke.

The secondary benefit of this practice method is for your subconscious. As you hole putt after putt at this distance, your confidence increases and you have less and less fear of these putts.

If you don't have time to go to the course, you can practice this at home on the carpet. This drill is a great way to work on your putting stroke.