By Scott Mackar
Yeah, driving the ball 300 yards is ridiculous. But if a quarter to a third of your strokes are coming off the flat stick, you'd better set some time aside for the practice green.
"The world is full of great ball strikersguys who can hit it 350 yards," says David Trainor, assistant men's golf coach for the nationally-ranked Kentucky Wildcats; "but being able to putt well is what separates good players from average ones."
When you practice putting, work on improving your confidence as well as your skill. "I'll have my players make 30 three-footers in a row to warm up, just so they see the ball go in the holethat's huge for a player's confidence," Trainor says.
Identify your putting weaknesses with the following drill, which Trainor uses with his team twice a week.
Putting Drill (See diagram)
Starting at three-foot mark, try 10 putts
Move to six-foot mark, try 10 putts
Move to eight-foot mark, try 10 putts
Move to 12-foot mark, try 10 putts
Repeat from beginning
Variation: Rotate the distances to practice putting the breaks at different lengths.
The Payoff: Since some putts will be uphill, others downhill, right to left or left to right, you'll be working on a variety of shots. Keep track of how many putts you make from each spot to help you identify the kinds of putts you should work on most.
Coaching Points: Picture the hole as a clockthe front of it is six o'clock, the back is 12. Then, focus on putting the ball in at a time on the clock; that will help you trace the line of the putt from your ball to the hole, or the other way around. Go through the same routine you use on the course before hitting each putt throughout the drill.
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