Test and train two keys to putting | by Michael Sweenie (Jumeirah Golf Estates)

One of the common factors we see in all good putters is they are highly skilled in three areas: Start line, distance/speed control and green reading. In this article we are going to have a look at the first two keys to test your skills on start line and distance control and get you focused with two simple training aids to get you moving in the right direction with your practice.

Start line

This is essentially the player’s ability to get the ball started on their intended target line – which is often NOT the hole. The top putters in the world do a great job at eliminating too much margin for error and consistently get the ball started in the same direction within 0.5 margin of error… Amateur golfers would often be as much as 2-3 degrees out in their intended start line!

One of the best ways to test your ability to get the ball started on the right line is using putting gates (I use the gates from visioputting.com which provide great putting training products).

Here I am using a 50mm gate and placing it around 12” in front of the ball. The task here is to consistently try and get the ball started through the gate (harder than it looks!). If you can does this without having to manipulate your stroke then you should be more than capable of getting the start line right on the course.


Distance/Speed control

Distance/Speed Control is another key area to successful putting. This is the player’s ability to control the speed of the ball whilst putting on various green speeds and slopes. One of the main issues in amateur golf when it comes to speed control is inconsistency in stroke length.


One of the most effective training aids I use with students when understanding stroke length and how this relates to speed control is the putting template (also from visioputting.com).

As a method of training, the length of the stroke the player wants to achieve is the same backswing and through swing (with a consistent tempo).


One of the most common flaws we would see as coaches would be an inconsistent length of stroke. Either the player has a long backswing and then short follow-through with the putter decelerating or the opposite, which is a short backswing with a long, loose, decelerating follow-through.

Get started with testing out both of the key areas of putting with two great training aids provided to give you instant feedback and improve the most important part of the golf game. We regularly see some of the best players in the world at the Peter Cowen Academy, Dubai at Jumeirah Golf Estates using these types of practice tools on a regular basis.

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