Monday, July 4, 2011

A Week of Putting Challenges

A Week of Putting Challenges

This is a list of challenges you can use to sharpen your putting.  These challenges will help you with your focus, distance control, confidence, technique and accuracy.  You can pick and choose which ones to do each day.  
  • 30 putt drill and let me know how many you make. You can do it up to 3 times but no more!  Put tees in the ground every foot from one foot to ten feet.  Start at one foot and putt one putt from each tee.  When you get to ten feet, go back the other way and finish back out at 10 feet.

*Thought for the Challenge - If you do your routine for each putt, is it consistent for each distance?  A short, simple focused routine is usually best.

  • Take one ball and go into the middle of 3-5 holes on the practice green.  This should give you both short and long putts.  Put a tee down and putt to each hole, putting each one out.  Go through your routine on each putt.  Play 18 holes.  How many under were you? If you were over par, do it again.  You can set your own personal par.
*Thought for the Challenge - Do you take the same expectations into each putt?  Expectations can effect speed control, so make sure you understand that great putters expect to make putts by rolling the ball at the right speed, not charging the putt past the hole. 

  • Putt a marked/colored ball across the green.  Now putt another as close as you can to the last ball.  Continue with 23 more balls.  Are the 25 balls on the green in a tight cluster?  Do they trail any direction?  Are they working toward you?  Think about your tendencies.  Do this on different days with uphill, downhill and sidehill putts.
*Thought for the Challenge -These challenges are valuable if you learn from your tendencies and make adjustments to improve.  The most confident athletes in any sport are willing to change to reach excellence.  

  • Put a tee in front of the hole, directly in the center where your ball would fall.  Now hit putts from 5 feet and learn to use the edge of the cup to get the ball in the hole.  This is a great challenge to learn speed control. Speed control is just as important on 5 footers as it is on 30 footers.  
*Thought for the Challenge - If you can control your speed, you will better understand how to play breaks on the green.

  • Play around the world from 5, 6 and 10 feet.  Put tees in 6 spots around the hole.  Go around and back.  To win you must make 12 in a row.  You get one second chance at 6 feet and two second chances at 10 feet. You may do this challenge only once per day!  Make it count.
*Thought for the Challenge - If you keep a practice journal, you will know what your best ever was with all these challenges and you will always be working against your best self. 

  • Putt from 20 to 40 feet until you make three.  Use one ball and your routine. 
*Thought for the Challenge - Practice isn't about quantity, it is about quality!  Using one ball may seem a waste of time when you could be using a sleeve, but you need as much game-like practice as possible to take your practice to the golf course.

  • Make 8 in a row from 3 feet, 7 in a row from 4 feet, 5 in a row from 5 feet, 3 in a row from 6 feet and 2 in a row from 10 feet.  This is 25 putts in a row.  You get up to three chances per day to make 25 in a row.  How did you do?
*Thought for the Challenge -Repetition doesn't equal mindlessness.  Instead, it should present you with an opportunity to focus and gain confidence through repeated success.  

  • Play the triangle game.  Put tees down at distances around 5, 10 and 15 feet in a triangle around the hole.  Putt from each tee using your routine.  Go around five times.  How many did you make?  If you make 10 or more out of 15 putts, it was a good day.  For more challenge, find a hole with a lot of slope.  You can only do this challenge one time per day.

*Thought for the Challenge - Your conversion rate is the rate of birdie putts you make when you hit it inside 15 feet.  You will raise the rate if you roll the ball at the correct speed at those distances. 

  • For this challenge, you need to keep string or yarn in your bag.  Lay the string so there is a 2 feet wide donut around the hole.  Put 4 tees in the ground from four distances each day and putt 3 balls.  Your goal is to get at least 2 of 3 in the donut hole!  The distances can be anything from 10 feet to 50 feet!  Great putters are great at controlling their speed!

*Thought for the Challenge - When you are a great lag putter, you take pressure off yourself and can more easily follow a game plan.

  • Make 10 putts in a row from 3 feet using your sand wedge as a putter.  Hit the ball with the leading edge of the club in the equator of the ball.  This drill will help both your concentration and the steadiness of your head and body as you putt.  When you are great from 3 feet, move farther from the hole. 
*Thought for the Challenge - Is your stroke level at impact?  This challenge will answer that question!

  • Use your string for this challenge.  Lay your string on the green and putt to it from different distances and various angles.  Your goal is to have the ball come to rest on the string. Place the string on slopes and figure out how match what you see with how you need to play the putt.  If the ball misses long and low, you have work to do with matching your vision with reality.  This drill is about distance + direction.
*Thought for the Challenge - When you putt, do you see the ball roll the entire distance of the putt, from putter to hole?  Learning to envision the roll of the ball will help you match your tempo and stroke with the distance needed.
  • These are technique drills and seem to address many of the things you need to do in a good putting stroke.  Place a tee at 3 feet from the hole and do the following:  1.  Push 10 balls into the cup.  You get no backswing.  This is a great way to fell a solid left hand through impact instead of a released club head.  2.  Hit 10 putts with your right hand only.  The handle of the putter should always swing the same direction as the club head.  3.  Put tees down at the toe and heel of your putter and place the ball in between them.  Putt 10 balls from this position.  Your putter should hit both tees at exactly the same time so the putter is working squarely.  This is a great drill to feel how much swing you need behind the ball to strike it with momentum instead of accelerating your hands.  4.  Putt 10 balls from 3 feet with your eyes closed and saying a little ditty in your mind, such as "roll the rock smooth" or any four beat rhythmic thing you want.  Now move to 10 feet and roll 10 balls with your eyes closed saying the same ditty.  Is your tempo the same on each putt?  5.  Finish the technique drills by doing the quiet eye drill.  Look at the hole for 3-5 seconds each time you look at it.  Look at the ball for 3-5 seconds before you strike it.  Look at the spot where the ball sat for 3-5 seconds after you strike it.  Do you see a black dot there?  Great putters use focused looks, not quick glances.
  • Play 18 holes on the practice green.  Take one ball and play from one hole to the hole closest to you.  Don't putt the same putt twice. How many under par (36) you can go?  

Your next challenges will be about wedges!  Enjoy the putting, for it is the key to scoring low!

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