In past articles, you’ve seen me describe a variety of putting and chipping drills focused on improving the most important part of the game, all of which have required the use of multiple golf balls. After recently watching a number of people warm-up prior to their rounds, it hit me that one of the most important and effective ways to practice putting seems to be forgotten, and that is to use just one ball. >>>
Before your next round, take a look at people on the putting green prior to teeing off and you’ll see that almost every person will drop a few balls down and putt them to a hole. Rarely, if ever, will they finish putting them into the hole they started on. Instead, they’ll rake them aside, pick a new hole, and repeat the process. They may contend that they are just getting used to the speed of the green, to which there is some merit, but I ask you this, “How many golf balls do you get to drop down and putt when you’re playing a round?” We all know that we get just one attempt at any shot we play during a round, so it would make sense that we should practice that way.
If you’ve read any of the popular sport psychologists that have written golf articles, you’ll see a common thread here. Even in practice, putt until you get the ball into the hole and never deviate from your routine. It makes perfect sense doesn’t it? The goal of your pre-shot routine is to help relax your mind so that you can be decisive and focused on the shot at hand. The point of any putt is to roll the ball into the hole. Why would you not practice this?
We all know that we get one attempt at any shot we play during a round, so it makes sense that we should practice that way.
I will agree, and even suggest, that rolling a few balls from the same spot to a target can help you get a sense for the speed of the greens that day, but that should not be your whole practice or warm-up routine. If you only leave yourself 5-10 minutes to putt, you will be much better off to go through your full routine of lining up the putt, taking your practice stroke, and putting to a hole, using just one ball. If you roll the ball close enough for an easy tap-in, don’t rake it away, either tap it in or, better yet, pull the ball back a putter length and then hole that putt. After all, you have to keep putting until you hole out on the course, so you might as well practice it.
By making it routine for you before a round or part of your practice sessions, you’ll feel even more comfortable on the greens during your next round and we all know, that is where we can shave off the most strokes!