General Manager/Director of
Penn State Golf Courses
State College, PA 16801
Starting Times: (814) 863-0257
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
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!!
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"
"Home of one of America's Top 100 Golf Shops - 1999, 2000,
"Philadelphia PGA Merchandiser of The Year - 2000, 2001,