By PGA Professional Michael Bolt, Trump International Golf Club, Dubai
The putter is by far the most used club on the golf course, and the quickest way to gain strokes and lower your scores. Although a sound technique is important, most golfers could shave shots off their score by just improving how they think about/approach a putt.
I see too many players either concerned by the technical side of their stroke or afraid of the outcome of the putt, which negatively affects the stroke into the ball. Practicing with a purpose can have a positive impact on your putting when it comes to your approach on the golf course. Try the below drill to focus and add some consistency to both your green reading and commitment to your line and pace.
Pick a putt with a medium to large break.
Place a marker or alignment rod on the apex point of the break, where the ball will generally start to lose speed and move towards the hole. The idea is to place the rod/marker in a place where you can hole the putt by launching the
ball both left and right of the obstacle.
Once you have the obstacle in an appropriate spot, try and hole the putt by missing the mark on the high side. This may require less ball speed and for you to visualise the ball going in the hole at dead weight allowing it to take the break.
Now repeat this, but now try to have the ball miss the obstacle on the low side and still go in the hole. This will require a firmer hit and higher ball speed to ensure the ball holds its line and does not take the break. Note: This is a more aggressive play and if the ball misses it will likely travel a long way past the hole.
You can move the stick to closer to you or further away to make the drill harder or easier through changing the parameters. Repeat this drill until you can comfortably hole the putt missing the obstacle on both sides. This will improve your awareness of starting line, the pace needed to hold certain lines, as well as distance control.
Once you are able to visualise the pace needed to hold certain lines you will be able to commit to putts with little thought of technique and assess the necessary level of aggression needed in the putt depending on the green variables and scenario.