I know that controlling your speed is the real key to being a great putter. The two keys for controlling your speed are finding the sweet spot and controlling the speed and tempo that the putter is traveling as it makes contact with the ball. This drill will focus on the later of the two. It will also work on alignment, green reading skills, and training your eyes to see 'when' the ball really breaks towards the cup.
To start, find yourself a breaking putt of about 8 to 15 inches and make it 10 to 20 feet in length (the higher these amounts, the higher the difficulty). Once you have dialed in the exact amount of break with 'dead speed' place your alignment rods on the ground parallel to the target line (1st ball in the picture above).
Next, it is time to find the apex of the putt. This is the point of maximum break in the putt along the target line. In the picture above, I have marked this point with a quarter (next to the 2nd golf ball). With 'dead speed' the ball will roll right over this point as it breaks into the cup (barely reaching the hole – 3rd ball in the picture above).
Now that we have found the apex of the putt, it is time to find your rhythm. Our goal is to roll putts at 'making speed' and miss the coin, just barely, on the 'low side.' Making speed means hitting a putt so that, if it misses, it will roll out past the hole about 18 inches or so.
Your goal now is to repeat each putt with 'making speed' using the same tempo and rhythm each time. By keeping the putts the same length, we do not have to alter the length of our stroke, but rather alter our rhythm until we find the rhythm that feel the easiest to repeat and most natural. That is the key – a repeatable rhythm to control the speed the ball rolls along the ideal line.
I feel like my rhythm is really dialed in if I can make 6 in a row – sometime more!
For myself, I putt best thinking about a rhythm of a “slow Brendt Snedecker.” If I get any faster, the ball will roll a little too far (finishing 24+ inches past the hole). Any slower and the ball doesn’t hold its line and finishes too low or too short.
Find your own rhythm and also find a way to describe it so that it can be remembered. The first time you do this drill it may take 20 minutes or more to really feel dialed in. If you can describe it in a way that helps you remember, it may only take you 5 minutes to get that feeling again. Do this drill at least once a week to avoid those dreaded “putting slumps.”
If you are ready to improve your putting, or any other aspect of your golf game, come see me and let’s lower that handicap together!