Practicing Putting Fundamentals

How to Improve Your Putting Skills

Golf Putting Practice - How to Improve Your Putting Skills

By Mark Davison

Putting in time for some golf putting practice is the best way to lower your scores. Not only will it help you to develop a better putting stroke, but it will also improve your judgment of speed and distance and, in doing so, increase your confidence when you are on the putting green.

The farther you are from the hole the less likely you are to hole a putt, so the secret is to make sure that if you miss you leave the ball close enough to the hole to make the next putt a formality. Here are a couple of drills designed to help you hole out.

Practicing Your Long putts

When you're practicing those longer putts, try this exercise: Take a handful of tees and place them in a semicircle around the back of the hole - a radius of 18 inches (0.4 m) to 2 feet (0.6 m) should be enough. Now take five balls and try to ensure that each of the putts stays within the semicircle. If you fail, then repeat the exercise until you succeed. As you improve, lengthen the distance of the putts.

Practicing Your Short putts

Even professional players sometimes miss the short putts. If you want to master the art of holing those tricky little shots, try this simple round-the-clock exercise. Place 12 balls in a circle around the hole to create a "clock face," and then try to hole each of them in succession. If you miss one ball, start again from the beginning. As you improve with practice, increase the distance between the balls, so widening the circle.

Learning to Read Greens When Putting

Developing a smooth, reliable putting stroke is just the first step in becoming a consistent putter. To progress from good putter to great putter you must master the speed, and what's called the "break," of your putt. This means judging the contours of the green and knowing how hard you'll need to hit the ball.

Reading greens begins with understanding how your ball reacts when rolling up, down, or across a slope. If it's an uphill putt you'll need to hit your ball harder than on a level green. If it's downhill, don't strike the ball so hard. When putting across a slope, aim wide of the target and try to determine how much the ball will curve on its way to the hole.

Before you start your round, spend a little time on the practice green. This will help you gauge the speed of the greens on the course. Don't be tentative when taking short putts. It's often easier to hole them when you hit them firmly and take any break out of the putt.

Before you take your shot, examine the break from a variety of angles and make a mental note of how any of your playing partner's putts react on the way to green.

When you've picked your line and gauged the speed, be positive and trust your putting stroke. The worst mistake in putting is leaving the putt short, so hit it hard enough to ensure that it stops just before the hole. With sufficient practice, you should be able to master putting and lower your score easily.

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