There’s nothing I hate more than hitting a great approach or nice pitch shot to within 4-10 ft. and blowing the putt. And there’s nothing I love more than holing a putt to halve a hole or win a hole. Putting is so underrated, and I’m shocked most amateurs don’t practice it much at all when it’s the most critical part of the game.
Toward the end of college I wanted to get back into golf. Like when I played in high school competitively. Needless to say, the game was rusty, but I had worked at a couple golf courses between my senior year and super senior year and could hang with the assistant pros by the end of the summer. When I got my first job and was invited to go play with the guys in the office that got my competitive juices flowing again, but hitting the range wasn’t enough.
I was traveling every week at that time for work, and in the summer evenings I had the options to sit in a hotel room, go get a sit down meal, or head to a nearby course and use their putting green for an hour or so. I chose option 3 most evenings (and maybe squeezed in 9 if I blew out early). When I did go to practice, I made a determined effort that entire summer to mainly practice putting. Maybe a little chipping, but 75%+ putting and 0% time at the range. I read Golf Digest and Golf Magazine articles and always looked for putting tips first that summer, and practiced drills I would find. I forced myself to love putting that summer, and it was the best decision I ever made for my game.
Today, I still practice putting at least once a week. I have a drill I call the “3/6/9 drill” that I use the most. It really helps me treat the 3 and 6 footers as easy putts, and gets me to focus on the 9 footers. Here’s how it works.
Take 3 balls and place them in a row at 3, 6, and 9 feet from the hole. Make the 3 foot putt, then 6, then 9. You have to make the closer putt to step back, or you start over. Once you complete this on one side of the hole, move 90* until you’ve completed the drill on 4 sides of the cup. I would always tell myself I couldn’t get dinner until I made it all the way around. Today, I can’t go home until I make them all. Some people even add a 12 foot putt in there.
It’s a great drill because it helps you create tons of confidence around 3 foot putts, and even 6 footers become easier. You’ll find ways to die putts in, or hit firm putts to take the break out on tricky lines. When you get out on the course you’ll take that practice and those memories with you, and I’m confident you’ll make more putts. I know I do, and it’s the best feeling. And if I’m off one day, I know I can go back to this drill and work on making these makable range putts. It always gets me going again.
Good luck with your putting practice. There’s no one way to get the ball in the hole, so I say practice more to perfect your way.