Making time for putting practice drills can improve confidence as well as skill. Many don’t know where to start. Putting is often considered the most crucial aspect of the game of golf. A skillful putter can make or break a round, and even the most powerful and accurate drives won’t compensate for a weak short game. To enhance your putting prowess, incorporating a variety of drills into your practice routine can be immensely beneficial. In this article, we will explore several effective putting drills that can help you develop consistency, accuracy, and confidence on the greens.

Regular practice on the following drills can add consistency to putting technique, creating a consistent stroke through muscle memory.  Committing to practice time at the practice green of a local golf club is a great way to become a more proficient putter, and perhaps identify common putting mistakes.  It may be tempting to stick with favorite putting drills but try to add variety. Working from different distances from different points around each hole on the practice green may provide a better understanding of putting performance. 

Gate Drill

Gate Drill

The Gate Drill is designed to improve your accuracy by creating a narrow path for the ball to travel through. Set up two alignment sticks or any other straight objects on either side of the hole. These sticks create a “gate” that is slightly wider than the width of your putter. The goal of this drill is to roll the ball through the gate without touching the sticks. This drill helps you focus on your alignment, stroke, and hitting the ball on the center of the putter face.  
If you don’t have alignment rods, you can use tees as shown in the photo. Orange stakes for driveway snow marking can substitute for an alignment rod.  For proper setup, check to make sure the stakes have not bent from snow use.

Clock Putting Drill

Clock Putting Practice Drill

The Clock Drill is an excellent exercise for improving distance control. Imagine the hole is at the center of a clock face, with the ball starting at 6 o’clock. Place four or five tees at various hour positions (e.g., 3, 9, 12, and 2 o’clock) around the hole. Hit putts trying to stop the ball at each tee, mimicking the hours on the clock. This circle drill encourages a consistent tempo and helps you gauge the speed needed for different putt lengths.  Ball markers may be substituted for tees when working on this distance control drill.

Two-tee putting drill

Two-Tee Putting Drill

This drill emphasizes the importance of starting the ball on the correct line. Place two tees in the ground a putter’s width apart, a short distance in front of the ball. The goal is to start the ball between the tees and into the hole. The Two-Tee Drill helps improve your ability to read greens, align properly, and make a stroke that sends the ball on the intended line.

Ladder putting drill

Ladder Putting Practice Drill

The Ladder Drill is designed to enhance your putting under pressure for your mental game. Set up a series of progressively longer putts, creating a “ladder” of distances from short to long. Start with a short putt and work your way up, only moving on to the next distance if you successfully hole the putt. This drill simulates the pressure of consecutive putts during a round and helps improve your focus and confidence.  A variation to this simple putting drill is to set up several golf balls in a row at specific distances along a line.

One hand putting drill

One-Handed Putting Drill

Practicing one-handed putting with your trail hand (the hand opposite your dominant hand) can refine your feel and touch on the greens. This drill promotes a smoother stroke and helps eliminate excess wrist action. Start with short putts and gradually increase the distance as you become more comfortable. Once you switch back to putting with both hands, you may find an improved sense of control and consistency in your putting game.

Putting Practice Drill Summary

Incorporating these putting drills into your practice routine can lead to significant improvements in your short game. Remember that consistency is key, and regular, focused practice sessions are essential to see progress. Whether you’re a novice golfer or a seasoned golfer, dedicating time to hone your putting skills will pay off on the golf course, leading to lower scores and a more enjoyable golfing experience. So, next time you head to the putting green, try out these specific drills, and watch your putting prowess reach new heights.

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