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Doug Wert
General Manager/Director of Golf
Penn State Golf Courses
1523 West College Ave.
State College, PA 16801

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www.psu.edu/golfcourses/

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Starting Times: (814) 863-0257

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                         Drive for Show, Putt for the Dough

 

How many times have you heard this?  I have always used this phrase to stress to all of my students the importance of putting in their golf game.  Sure, its always nice to nail one off the tees that goes 290 yards down the center of the fairway, but you are only half way there.  Once you are safely on the green, being a good putter can save you strokes by the time you reach the 19th hole.  Developing a good putting game involves sound principles of the stroke, using drills and devoting time to practice, practice, practice.

The one thing about putting is there are many styles and methods that are used.  Putting strokes differ from golfer to golfer, but I feel that there are a few sound principles that you need to apply to your own personal style of putting.  They are:

1.  Eyes over or slightly inside the ball.
2.  Clubface set square to the target.
3.  Position the ball in the center of your stance.
4.  Keep your body motion limited during the stroke.
5.  Use your shoulder and back muscles to stroke the ball, not the hands and wrists.
6.  Us an accelerating stroke.
7.  Be comfortable over the ball.
8.  Make solid contact by hitting the ball in the "sweet spot" of the putter.

There may be no single element of overall putting technique that everyone agrees upon, but if you discuss this with many instructors of the game I feel that you would find a majority of them would agree with the above principles of putting.

Once you have the principles in line and have developed your own personal putting stroke you need to perfect it.  There are a number of drills that have been developed over the years to help you with your putting.  I have two favorites.

                                      Five in a line drill

This drill is a great way to develop consistency, sharpen your concentration and help improve your immunity to pressure.

Lay down five balls two feet from the hole.  Now lay down five more at another two foot interval.  Continue this until you have six piles of five balls all at two foot intervals.  Putt the balls from the nearest pile to the hole and make all five in succession.  If you miss one start over.  Once you have holed all five from the first pile proceed to the next pile of balls.  Practice until you have holed all of the piles without missing a putt.  This drill will take a lot of discipline, but once you have mastered it, your confidence level with your putting will drastically improve.

                                 All around the world drill

This drill is an excellent tool in assisting you in the development of the feel for putts from all angles of the golf hole and develop more confidence in those "Knee Knockers" that you might find on the golf course.

Place ten golf balls in a circle around the hole all five feet from the hole.  Place a tee in the ground next to the ball that you begin putting from.  After making the first putt, proceed to the next ball and continue around the circle until you have holed all ten balls in succession.  If you miss any of the putts, return to the tee, which marked your starting point, and begin the drill again.  Once you are confident that you can make all ten within the distance of five feet, move out to seven feet and repeat the drill, then ten feet and so on.

These two drills are very helpful in developing your confidence with your putting skills.  Spend a lot of time with these and other drills that you may already use and I promise that you will see a drop in the number of putts you have in each of your rounds of golf.

The final piece of advice that I have for you on putting is to decide that you will spend a certain amount of time on your putting during your practice routine.  I cannot stress to you enough the importance of doing so.  As a common rule of thumb I always spend twice as much time on the putting green as I do on the practice range.  By involving sound principles, drills and a lot of practice you will continue to see an improvement in your putting skills.  Good Luck!!

Doug Wert
General Manager/Director of Golf
Penn State University Golf Courses

PGA PGM Instructional Faculty

Penn State Golf - "The other game at Penn State played on Grass and Measured in Yards"
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