The driving range has become a good friend. Every time I visit the course, it's the place to warm up, warm up and, of course, practice with any wood or iron. Everything works well. And off we go for the round. But the score is not satisfactory in the end. Why? The swings worked well after all. Have I perhaps forgotten something?
Not only "maybe", I certainly forgot something. Every hole can go so well up to the green if I then fail at the end and miss the easiest putts.
Because what many people don't think about is that putting requires a completely different movement than the tee shot, pitch or chip. And this movement not only needs to be practiced, it also requires practice.
There is already an article on the subject of putting in this blog. There I describe above all the correct posture, the set-up with the eye over the ball, the pendulum movement, which must come only from the shoulders.
But theory alone - as always - is not enough, because the putt is also complex and is influenced by various factors. For example, the pendulum motion must run exactly on the putting line to the hole, and the club head must be aligned at right angles to it.
Then there is the important distance control, so that the power is well dosed and the ball does not roll too short or - if the hole is missed - too long.
And, of course, the green must be properly "read" to estimate where the ball will describe a curve because of the topography.
If one makes these points clear, then the question immediately arises: Why does one know the driving range so well, but the putting green has been more or less ignored up to now? Because, as with a good golf swing, the same applies to the perfect putt: it doesn't work without practice.
And here there are various special training methods that will ensure that the hole is not finished with a bad score after good shots on the green.
Every golfer knows: more than one two-putt should not be on the green. One is for the approach, the second pushes the ball into the hole. To achieve this all the time (or at least very often), patience is needed when practicing.
The first and simplest exercise looks like this: You place a row of balls in a circle around the hole and play them in little by little. Initially, the distance should be about one putter grip length (note: not shaft length, but the length of the rubber grip on the shaft). Six balls should be enough here.
If you manage to sink the six balls three times without making a mistake, you increase the distance by another grip length. If you make a mistake, you start again from the beginning.
If you have a practice green with a flat surface, you should start there. And the balls should not be placed further than two meters from the hole, otherwise the frustration factor is soon added because too many balls miss the target.
If you position yourself further away because the first putts worked well, you can then put eight or ten balls into play. Very important: This exercise is not about speed.
So there's nothing wrong with a few practice swings in front of the ball before you try to hole it. Concentration is another important factor.
If there are two of you, this exercise can also be made into a game: You line up at the opposite balls and try to punch in. If you succeed, the ball is put back and you move on to the next one. If it doesn't work, you try the same ball again.
Putting is always done at the same time. The player who putts better, i.e. catches up with the other player, wins. Of course, it is up to the combatants to decide whether a prize is awarded (a drink after the round or the honor of the first tee shot).
The counterpart to this exercise is the distance putt for approach, which does not aim to sink the ball. Rather, at best, the ball should remain within a radius of one putter shaft length of the hole.
Again, start relatively close to the hole, three good steps should be enough. Of course, the ball may drop here, but the goal is to get a good approach to get a feel for the necessary power dosage.
One phrase applies here: "Too short never goes in." This means that even when approaching, you should never deprive yourself of the opportunity to sink the ball by playing with too little power.
After all, there are few things more annoying than an approach putt where the ball rolls in a perfect line to the hole but stops a hand's width short of it. So it's always a matter of trying to control the power so that the ball can roll right up to the hole, but - if it doesn't fall - doesn't stop far behind it.
With these exercises, which by the way should become a standard repertoire before the round, that's it for today. More on that next week. And now have fun with your putt training.
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