GRANT HEPBURN highlights some of the simplest, yet most effective, golfing drills ever devised.
Putting can be one of the most frustrating parts of the game. There’s something a little bit cruel about how a perfect drive that sails 250 metres down the fairway counts as much as a simple tap-in from a few centimetres away. Fortunately, putting is one area that you can work on and improve with a little time on the practice putting green. This month I demonstrate some simple drills that will help you improve your putting and, hopefully, shave a few shots off your score.
This simple drill helps to link your arms and your body during the putting stroke. Start by placing the shaft of a club, an alignment stick or something similar under your arms, as I have demonstrated. Now take up your putting stance and practise hitting a few putts.
It may feel awkward but the nice thing about this drill is that, in order to hold the shaft under your arms, your elbows need to be in the correct position, tucked in close to your body, with your hands below your eyes and your chin.
When putting, try to get a feel for how your shoulders, arms and body move together in your putting stroke. Many ammies make the mistake of putting with only their arms, and this drill will give you great feedback if you do this, as the shaft will drop out from under your arms.
Similarly, this drill also helps to keep your body moving all the way through the impact zone, because if it stops and you carry on with your arms only, the shaft will drop out.
The right-hand drill is a very nice way to learn touch and feel, as well as the role that your right hand plays in the putting stroke.
Start by gripping the putter with the right hand only. Place your left hand on your right wrist, then make some one-handed practice strokes. You should immediately notice the weight of the putter head.
With two hands, we tend to overpower the club and lose the feel of the putter head, but if you can feel the putter head you can start to learn feel for distance and also putter face position, which controls direction.
As you hit the putt, notice how the palm of your right hand continues towards the hole, as your right wrist stays firm. You should also notice how your left arm and shoulder engage and work in tandem to create a pendulum-like motion without interference from the hands.
Remember, it is very important to keep your head still throughout the stroke, whether putting one-handed or with two hands.
This time around, place your right hand on the back of your left wrist and make a few putting strokes. This drill helps to incorporate your body and shoulders into the swing, which helps prevent the left wrist from flipping the ball towards the hole. A left wrist that breaks down will result in a loss of distance control as well as face direction – and that means many missed putts.
Throughout the stroke, the key is to feel the role the left wrist plays, and how stable it needs to remain. Then incorporate this into your normal, two-handed stroke.
– Hepburn has been a regular face in Compleat Golfer for more than a decade. His CV includes time coaching on the European and PGA Tours, and an impressive list of top amateurs and pros. He is the CEO of Golf RSA and the South African Golf Development Board. Follow him on Twitter @granthepburn.
– This article first appeared in the October 2022 issue of Compleat Golfer magazine.