Practice Drill to Develop a Good Putting Stroke

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Set Up from Four Feet

Golfer practicing on putting green, low section
Grant V. Faint/Photodisc/Getty Images

Putts between 4 and 6 feet are ones that we expect to make most of the time. But research tells us that touring pros make only about 50 percent of their 6-foot putts, so the average golfer should not get too frustrated when their percentage is lower. However, with intelligent practice, we can do something to increase our success rate on this length of putt.

How to Practice

Take 10 balls and line up a straight putt of about four feet.

It is important to practice a straight putt, because then you need only focus on the stroke and not on the break. Obviously, if you miss a straight putt you will know that you made a bad stroke; if you miss a breaking putt, you might have made a good stroke but just had the wrong speed. So it's important to pick a straight putt for this drill.

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Straight Back

Courtesy of Mel Sole; used with permission

Now, start putting these putts with two objectives:

1. Make sure the putter head is going straight back as in the photo above. And then ... 

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Straight Through

Courtesy of Mel Sole; used with permission

... your putter continues straight through as in the photo above.

2. Also, make sure your putter face is square to your line at all times (also noted in the photo above). This is the most common fault with poor putters and takes the most work and concentration, but will pay off huge if you have the determination to get it right.

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Make 50 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. Gradually increase this goal until you can get up to 50. Remember, if you miss one you have to start at one again!

This teaches you how to putt under pressure, because as you reach 45, 46, 47, 48 -- you 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.