My 18″ Putting Drill

Ball pushes tee into side of hole

As best I can remember, way back when I worked hard on my own game, I had a number of practice drills I used to improve my scoring performance. While practice may not sound as much fun as playing a round of golf, what I’ve found is that practice actually makes your next round of golf much more fun because you can see if all that hard work on the practice range pays off.

One exercise I used a lot in my practice routine was making very short putts. Now, I know that in friendly games of golf, those 1’-2’ putts are often conceded by your golf buddies. But, what happens if you get into a local tournament and you actually have to make those putts? Yep, you guessed it…the knees might shake a little, and you might have negative thoughts in your head as you stand over the putt. It’s pretty clear that you need to build confidence in your stroke so that you can sink 100% of those short putts. Missing them can cost you the hole, or even the match.

To build confidence, you need repetition. You need to see and feel the ball going in the hole every time. I would make hundreds of these putts from one to two feet. I would roll some in the left edge and some in the right edge. I would also often put a tee in the back middle of the cup and tap the tee with the golf ball to narrow my focus on the center of the cup. This drill is not primarily about technique, but rather experiencing the benefits of holing putts without missing.

However, please stay aware of what your stroke feels like and what you are thinking when you are doing this exercise. The drill may test your commitment and patience, but I am certain your confidence will grow. Also, realize that when you go to play on the course, you really don’t hit a 3′ putt much different than an 18″ putt.