Feeling comfortable about your game is always a confidence booster when faced with tough shots around the green. And there is no better way to make that comfortable feeling more comfortable than enlarging what I call the “Comfort Circle;” the circle around the hole that you know without a doubt you can make a putt.
Making More Short Putts
Most professionals are automatic from 5 feet and in, simply because they practice those length putts at every event. Some are deadly at 6-8 feet. Because they can make these putts routinely, their short games are now free of undue stress, allowing them to take dead aim at the hole when chipping and hitting out of bunkers. This is a luxury too few amateurs experience, however, you can increase your comfort level with short putts and take pressure off your short game with a very simple drill.
Place 8 balls around the hole approximately 4 feet from the hole. Challenge yourself to make all 8 balls in the hole in a row. Should you miss, you have to start all over again. Making all 8 in a row provides a similar pressure you would experience standing over a putt to win your club championship. Should you miss, the consequences could be adverse. As you make more putts and become comfortable from this distance, challenge yourself by increasing the distance by a foot at a time, again with the mission of making all 8 in a row.
A couple of tips to help you succeed at this drill:
- Always perform your routine with every putt. This is what you can always rely upon when the pressure is on
- Resist the temptation to see the ball go in the hole. Instead, listen for the ball to hit the bottom of the cup. Doing so keeps your shoulders in line with the putt longer and keeps your putter on track
- As you perform your routine, try to find a target that is never outside the hole. The professionals read very little break, if any, with short putts. Unless the conditions of the putt are severe, the less you read break into the putt the better
Increasing the distance you can make short putts from will increase your ability to be more aggressive with your short game. When you can stand over a pitch, chip, or bunker shot not being afraid of running the ball by the hole 3-4 feet, knowing you can make a putt from that distance, golf becomes a little easier for everyone.