When you putt well you score well. A good day on the greens will make up for a poor long game. All very simple and very true but how much effort do you put into practice and what type of practice are you doing to become a better putter? There are so many drills and games out there for all of us to become more skilled and reliable in this area. I want to discuss FEEL in this section and help you understand the importance and benefits of developing a better touch on the greens.
How many of you use your eyes to help you gauge how firm or how long your stroke should be? Or are you the type who just has a guess and a whack!? Growing up I used to watch the World Indoor Bowls Championship. I think the green carpet they bowled on reminded me of a putting green, hence my interest.
I admired their feel for distance control and how accurate they were at judging curvature and pace. The one thing that stood out to me was how they looked at the ‘jack’ or object ball when they bowled. This game came across as instinct to me. No practice swings required just pure instinct and a lot of feel. How often have you thrown a ball around and been largely successful? Let’s think about that for one minute. You are throwing the ball to somebody and all you are doing is looking at them whilst letting go. Pure instinct encouraged by your vision.
Now let’s have a look at some drills to increase your feel. Bob Rotella and Brad Faxon made a dvd together and one of their drills to increase feel and instinct was to look at the hole whilst making a stroke. They demonstrated this drill to assist the judgement of pace on longer putts but recently we have all seen Jordan Spieth do this in competition for short putts. This drill takes your mind off the mechanics of the stroke and can reduce negative thoughts and tension. It increases feel and instinct. Spieth says it reduces any tension he may feel.
Another drill for increasing feel is to try and hole putts using 3 different speeds. Pick a 6 foot putt with some break involved and try holing out one putt dead weight, one medium paced and one firm which should hit the back off the cup before dropping. You will note a different line for each putt too. The firm putt will require the least amount of borrow and the dead weight putt will require the most borrow. This is a great drill for encouraging your imagination and visualisation.
I recommend you try these drills every time you are on your practice putting green or on the carpet at home. At first you may mishit the ball but that is to be expected and it’s only temporary. After a while you will be surprised how well you can putt using your eyes.
Happy holing out!
The Royal Dublin Golf Club
E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: 00353 1 8336477