The 3 Best Putting Drills for New Golfers
1. Overall best putting drill for new golfers: Classic Line Drill
Golf instructors recommend this putting drill because it’s simple yet highly effective.
You’ll need 5 golf ball markers for this drill. If you don’t have markers use pennies or spare tees. Place the first golf ball marker 3 feet from the hole. Continuing in a straight line place the remaining markers 3 feet directly behind the first, one after the other, until there are 5 markers all in a line towards the hole.
Set your golf ball next to the marker closest to the hole. Try to sink the putt by focusing on ‘rolling’ the golf ball over the first six inches of green in front of it instead of ‘pushing’ it all the way towards the hole. This will make sense when you do it even if it doesn’t click right now.
Once you make your putt into the hole from the first marker move back to the next one. Hit the ball from that marker until you sink another putt. Continue to move away from the hole until you are making putts from the farthest marker.
To make this drill more difficult you can move one level closer to the hole every time you miss a putt. This puts you under pressure to make every putt count. Incorporating pressure into your practice routine will prepare you for when you’ve got a difficult lie on the golf course.
2. Best putting drill for keeping your swing on its target line: The Chute
The goal of this putting drill is to practice keeping your putts straight. You can buy fancy tools to help you do this drill but the easiest (and cheapest) method is to use two clubs out of your bag. In a pinch you could even line up two rows of tees, pieces of string, or a flagstick instead of golf clubs.
Find a non-breaking putt of about 4-5 feet from the hole. Take out two clubs and lay them parallel to each other, a few inches apart, on either side of your golf ball. The golf clubs should be within 3/4 inch of either side of the heel and toe of your putter when the putter is placed directly behind your golf ball.
The clubs should be facing so that they create a ‘chute’ pointing directly towards the hole.
Hit the golf ball from between the two clubs aiming towards the hole. If your putter nudges the club laying on either side try again, this time correcting the misalignment in your swing. Ideally neither your putter nor the golf ball will touch the ‘chute’.
An excellent way to improve this putting drill is to add a metronome. Find the beat that feels most natural to you, swinging the club forward on the first beat and backwards on the second. Swing the club back and forth until it feels smooth and easy.
Once you’ve got your rhythm down place the putter between the two parallel clubs. Swing your putter back and forth in time to the metronome. Adjust your swing so it doesn’t nudge the clubs on either side.
3. Best putting drill for performing well under pressure: The Clock
This putting drill is designed to help you improve your ability to putt under pressure.
Set up a circle of 12 golf balls evenly spaced around the hole, similar to the numbers on a clock. Each ball should be about 3-4 feet from the hole.
When you’re ready quickly tap each golf ball into the hole. Ideally you should be hitting the ball within 5 seconds of reading each putt for this drill (a quick refresher on reading greens can be found here).
If you miss a putt replace all of the balls to their original locations and start again. Work your way around the hole moving to each ball in a clockwise direction.
Like the line drill, pressuring yourself to make all of your putts in a row will add an element of pressure to your practice which will help you when you’re playing for real.
If you want to add a third layer of challenge to this putting drill, simply close your eyes to help finesse your swing intuition.
Read your putt, get ready to swing, and at the moment of impact close your eyes. Before you open them take a mental note of where you believe the ball ended up based on your swing path and intuition.
Open your eyes and see how close your guess was. Move on the the next ball in the ‘clock’ and try again.
By closing your eyes you’ll get a much clearer picture of how your arms and body are working together to line up the path of each putt. Cutting off vision allows you to ‘feel’ your putt better and get in tune with the motion of your swing.
After a few hits you will have much better intuition about where the ball is moving!