In the 28-years that I have played golf, two elements have been consistent, an erratic long game and a solid scrambling record. If you can chip and putt, you can still return low scores. I have crafted this guide to provide the best putting drills that have helped me shoot lower scores and conquer the greens.
These putting drills teach you how to improve putting results by mastering alignment and line reading. In addition, these assist you with speed control to reduce 3-putts and increase your one putt percentage. Most of my drills don’t require any fancy equipment and can be executed with what you have
I grew up playing in a rural town, where they weren’t interested in modern training equipment. However, my mind is open, and I have added a couple of exercises you can do that require practice aids.
The Best Golf Putting Drills For An Improved One Putt Record
Best Putting Drill For Alignment
Line Reading 101
Before you commence your training session, you need to understand the breaks and speed of the practice green. I place five balls down on one side of the putting green and pick a spot at the opposite end to putt to.
I lower my body position for my eyes to be level with the ball, and I read the line. Plus, I take note of how the green curves, if at all.
Then, I set up for my first putt. Once I understand the undulation of the entire green, it is easier to read the line on shorter putts.
Finally, I take out ten golf balls and putt them to the opposite side of the green. This gives me a better understanding of the speed and whether I have read the practice greens correctly.
The Meter Stick Putting Drill
Employing the meter stick putting drill in your putting practice routine boosts the accuracy of your clubface at impact. Set the end of a 39-inch (1-meter) stick next to the cup, running back to you.
Place your ball at the opposite end of the stick, with the toe of your putter touching the aid. The purpose is for the ball to roll along the rod until it drops into the cup. If your ball veers in any other direction, your clubface was likely not square at impact.
Laser Putter Drill
Laser practice putting aids help professionals and amateurs optimize their putting accuracy. It takes away the guesswork of where your clubface is aiming, ensuring that you roll putts starting your ball on the desired line.
Three types of lasers improve putting results. The most affordable ones attach the shaft of your club and project a line to your target and along your stroke path. Then you have premium models which connect the head of your putter and increase the accuracy of the read.
Furthermore, there are laser glasses that golfers such as Dustin Johnson employ in their putting exercises. Johnson actually worked alongside Perfect Practice to develop this laser putting aid.
A cost-effective and efficient laser putting aid is Foretra Pointer. It is super affordable and attaches to your shaft. Use the guidance of the laser to identify where your putter face is aiming. Follow the laser during your stroke to ensure that you keep your club on path.
Best putting drills for Distance Control
Manilla Folder Drill
The Manilla Folder exercise works to improve your pace consistency. Although you are meant to use this specific folder, my old school coach found paper and stones sufficient.
Place the folder or a piece of paper a specific distance in front of you. For example, start 6-yards, then 8, and end at 10-feet. The aim is to get your ball to stop on the binder.
It boosts your muscle memory to repeat the same stroke on the golf course when you are 6, 8, or 10-yards from the hole. You can position the folder at any point you wish. The only limit is the size of the green.
I find this great drill helpful for judging the weight of a putt on elevated greens. If the putt starts flat and then drops to a lower tier, I work out the distance to the top of the ridge. Then I pretend that is the length of the putt and focus on getting it to the top of the ridge. After that, the slope takes it down to the hole.
2-Feet Past Drill
Swedish professional Fredrik Lindblom guides us through this elementary distance control putting drill. My rustic coach used to place a club 2-feet behind the cup for this drill, but Fredrik is fancy and employs an alignment aid.
I make fun of alignment rods, but they are versatile tools that can improve any element of your game. Those without an alignment aid may appreciate the practicality and durability of the Go Sports Golf Alignment Training Sticks.
This drill pushes you to stop the ball no more than 2-feet passed the cup. Contrarily, your ball should not finish short of the hole. This drill boosts your pace and accuracy.
ALSO READ: Golf Training Aids That Work
I learned this trick from watching footage of the late Papwa Sewgolum. He was a right-hander who would position his left hand at the bottom of his grip. In my hometown, we called it the reverse grip.
That is how he played all his shots, but I do not have that level of hand-eye coordination. Instead, I included it in my practice routine. During one terrible round, I switched to the reverse grip for a laugh and really enjoyed the control I had.
This setup weakened my grip and restricted my wrist movement, resulting in increased accuracy. Basically, whenever I am not striking the ball well, or my distance is off, I switch to reverse grip for a superior feel.
You should start your warm-up routine with the grip. Stroke ten putts to get a better feel for the pace and to find rhythm. When you are satisfied, switch back to your normal grip.
ALSO READ: Finding the Perfect Grip
Best Putting Drills For Short Putts
Clock Putting Drill
I have seen numerous variations of the clock putting drill, but I will explain what my coach taught me. I place twelve balls in a three feet to five feet radius around the cup, resembling a clock. Start at 12pm, and work your way clockwise around, until you sink ball eleven.
If you miss a putt, you cannot proceed to the next one until you drain it. The clock putting drill can be repeated for any putts ranging from 1 to 10-feet. It offers an excellent exercise to master short putts and shoot lower scores.
Putting drills with tees
Putting Stroke Path Drill
Tiger Woods often uses two tees on the putting green, awakening an accurate stroke path. He places two tees a clubhead width apart to force him to get the putter face square at impact. Failure to do so causes the putter to strike the tees.
Golf coach Chris Ryan breaks down the drill concisely in this video. You can even take it a step further and place two additional tees 2 to 3-inches ahead of you to guide the ball on the same line.
Accurate line putting drill
Another great putting drill with golf tees focuses on starting the ball on your target line. If the line is straight to the cup, place two tees a putter head apart. Work on getting the ball through the gap, and it should end close to the cup.
In addition, should your putt break, you will need to start it left or right of the tee.
A Great Putting Drill For Home
I saw Blair O’Neal and Martin Hall execute this drill, and I find it effective for improving the position of your putter face at impact. Set two alignment rods down, running parallel to one another. Place the first ball towards the back of the lane. Then the second one an inch in front of it.
Your mission is to get the second ball to roll in a straight line. When it veers offline, that means you struck the ball closest to you, with a closed or open face. Practice this drill with ten balls and do not stop until four out of ten rolls straight.
This is an ideal drill to practice putting at home. As long as you have a smooth flat surface, you can work on your impact position.
The Best Drills By Jordan Spieth
This putting drill is fun and brings purpose to your training. Jordan sets up 10 balls north, south, east, and west of the cup, 10-feet away. He assigns a score to each ball and gets out the calculator after every ten strokes.
A sunk putt counts as a birdie, while anything 2-feet passed the cup is a par. Contrarily, if anything is shorter or longer than 2-yards passed is a bogey. He does not proceed to the next batch of ten until he has carded 4-under with the previous lot.
His dedication to short-putting practice helped Jordan Spieth putt his way to Major glory early in his career.
Stroke Path Drill
Peter Finch provides a concise overview of one of the putting drills that helped Jordan Spieth win two majors in 2015. It follows the same logic as the one-meter stick drill, but he uses an alignment rod.
Setup with the toe of the putter touching the alignment rod and focus on taking the putter back and through. If you induce an outside backstroke, your putter head will cross the stick, and you will notice it immediately.
Conversely, Sungjae Im places the heel of his putter against the alignment stick to determine when he takes the putter head inside on the backstroke.
Consistently repeating this notion leads to a consistent stroke with less wrist movement and face twisting. Therefore, you enjoy superior accuracy.
Tiger Woods putting drills
Pitching Wedge Putting Drill
The big cat uses a wedge to train his eye and promote a clean strike on the equator of the ball. I use this before every round as well. It gives me a solid feel for the speed of the putting green and promotes a clean strike.
One-Handed Tee Drill
Place tees in front of your ball like you did in the stroke path putting drill, and grip the club with your strongest hand.
Place your secondary hand behind your back and putt it towards your target. One-handed putting improves your feel and control for superior accuracy and speed judgment. In addition, it boosts your rhythm and tempo.
Lag Putting Drill
20, 40, 60 Yards Drill
The 20, 40, and 60 drill is often used by Phil Mickelson in preparation for the lightning greens at Augusta. You have a limited chance of making these longer shots, but you need to avoid three-putts.
Employ three alignment aids or golf clubs and place them 2-feet behind and to the sides of the cup. Place five balls down at 20, 40, and 60-feet. Start with the closest ones and work your way back. The purpose is to help you identify the level of force needed to get the ball into the safety zone from each distance.
Each ball that enters the safe zone from 20-yards is a par, and 40-yard putts give you a birdie. Finally, if your 60-foot putt finishes within 2-feet, you card an eagle. Anything worse than -5 means you need to repeat the drill.
By mastering lag putting, you will start to shoot lower scores.
Putting Drills For Golf FAQs
Where should eyes be when putting?
Before your stroke, glance down the line of your putt, ensuring you are correctly aligned. Next, turn your attention to the top of your ball, and pick a spot to focus on. Keep your eyes fixed on the ball through impact, and you will enjoy cleaner strikes and improved speed consistency.
Which Hand Leads In Putting?
Right-handed golfers are lead by your right hand, and your left hand follows. Conversely, the left-hand takes control for the lefties.
How tight should you hold a putter?
My suggestion is a medium-firm grip because it provides sufficient control and enables you to prompt a fluid stroke. If you induce a light hold, you could lose control of the putter during the stroke, causing the face to open or close at impact.
Conversely, a firm grip can impact the fluidity of the stroke and lead to an open putter face at impact. However, it ultimately depends on what you feel comfortable with and what works for you.
How far should you stand from the ball when putting?
Golf instructor Travis Fulton suggests that you position yourself comfortably with your eyes over the ball. If you lean back to reach this pose, you are standing too close to the ball. On the contrary, when you stand too far away from your ball, you are forced to lean forward excessively to reach it.
Should your putter touch the ground?
Your putter should not touch the ground during your stroke as that will cause you to mishit the ball. Strike your golf ball in the equator for a pure roll and minimal deviation from the same line.
The next time you are at the golf course, see what happens when your putter touches the turf. You will leave your putt short and potentially divot the practice green.
Now that you know how to practice putting, the ball is in your court. Grab your putter and act on these tips and drills.
I have covered everything from reading lines to speed, accuracy, and stroke path. You have proven methods from PGA professionals, world-renowned instructors, and yours truly.
Start implementing these best putting drills into your game, and you will soon see lower scores and a reduced handicap. You might drive the ball over 300-yards, but if you can’t drain the putt, your efforts are hopeless.
There is a lot of information to digest here, and beginners might feel lost. Fear not. Send us a message if you have any questions. Alternatively, if you have a proven putting drill to share, we are all ears.