However, as much as you would like it, you can’t be on the course all day every day. Especially in the winter, you can feel that you are slipping backwards and forgetting everything you have learned and all those new skills you have developed, this is when you need some great golf putting drills at home.
Do not despair; there are a lot of things you can do at home which will keep that skill level up. Some of these tips should be used all year round, so every day you are keeping your mind and your body honed to improve your game. Some are for winter when it can be much harder to play. But there can be an advantage here; it is an excellent time to study about the game, watching training videos, reading up on the rules to give you the edge when the weather gets better again.
But we all know that it can be challenging to get into a good routine at home. You may not have space. You may get distracted by the kids, the dog and whatever.
I have put together these tips for you with that in mind. Simple and easy to use I have also put some general fitness and strength tips in and some mental strengthening exercises. It all fits together to help your game.
What you need before you start
There is no specialized equipment required here, just bits and bobs you will find around the house.
- Some tape (gaffer tape, masking tape) Two large saucepans
- A small jug
- Large breakfast cup
- Your favourite golf putter Golf balls
- A digital metronome (you can download one for free just by Googling digital metronome, or get an app for your phone)
- Some inside space, preferably with a carpeted floor or a yard area with close- cropped grass
- Notebook for recording progress
Our six top tips for improving your putting
Even the top professionals need to practise their putting. The magazine Golf Monthly featured Rory McIlroy’s favourite tips for putting drills back in 2009, you can still see them online.
One of our favorites and one which you can quickly repeat at home is
Stand on one leg
Hit a series of putts with one leg in the air. Rory says that this will destabilise you and any unnecessary movements will throw your stroke. So, practising eliminates any unnecessary changes and gives you a more solid stroke.
Hand-eye coordination and alignment
Hand-eye coordination and aligning the putter can always be improved. Start and build up levels of difficulty.
Choose a reasonably long space in your home, the hall is usually the best, if you have a carpet so much the better, especially if it is one with not too much pile.
Put something to aim at on the carpet which is about the size of a golf hole, a large breakfast coffee cup or jug is good.
Start close and using putter and golf ball trying to hit the object. Every time you succeed move back a foot.
Record progress, how many shots does it take you to get to the other end of the hall.
Here is a video which might help:
Smoothing your putting stroke
Smooth strokes at a natural speed for you is what we are aiming at here. The first thing you need is a metronome. I would suggest downloading one to your smartphone or laptop, whichever you keep nearer and use most.
Next set the metronome by doing this:
Swing your putter, without trying to hit a ball, naturally with the metronome set at about 80 beats per minute (bpm); this will be in the right range, now adjust to your natural rhythm (if you are tall it will be probably a bit slower, if short a bit faster).
Once you have the right setting spend a few minutes just gently letting the putter swing free, getting used to the feel, the ‘tick’ should be at the completion of your backswing.
Now get an object and put it five feet away. Get a golf ball, hit the golf ball using your metronome stroke.
Hit the ball towards the object
Practice until you are getting near every time. This video from the Golf Academy shows you how.
Now repeat exercise three with your eyes closed. You may notice that when you close your eyes, you are more aware of your body and especially of your balance. Practise this several times, it will lock your movements into your memory, and you will be able to repeat this out on the course. Here’s an example of putting practice with your eyes closed from Jamie Glazier:
Don’t touch the tape
This exercise will help you control your ball speed on the green. Using your hall, or a similar area put a five-foot length of masking tape on the floor.
Start at about four feet from the tape and aim to get the ball as near as possible to the tape without touching it.
Repeat using six balls.
At the end remove any balls which hit the object. How many are left? Try to beat your score.
Aim to score six all the time, then change your distance.
Silent saucepan alley
Put two large saucepans on the floor. Take your putter and swing between the pans. Then move the saucepans closer together until there is just enough space for your putter to move between the two.
Now practise strokes keeping the putter on a straight path and the putter face square.
If you do not, you will hear a clink on the saucepans and know your shot is not straight.
Practise until all is silent!
Now we have looked at improving your putting skills, let’s take a look at some of the support work you can do which will also help those putting skills.
Pile on the mental pressure
When you have gotten good at some of the drills above, then it’s time to strengthen your mind. Put yourself under some stress, so you get used to performing well when the heat is on.
Using all the exercises above, carry out each activity five times and aim to succeed every time, then ten times, then 20 times. Notice how tension rises as you get nearer your target. Learn how to control and use this tension, and you will find your putting is better when you are out on the course.
Read and research
There is a whole science around improving your putting, and it is fascinating. We like Putt like the Pros by Dave Peltz, Dave is a physicist and brings all that scientific expertise to the analysis of stokes and greens. A great read which will deepen your understanding of what is happening when you hit your putting stroke.
We also like a book which comes at the issue from a different angle (ooh, excuse the pun!) Unconscious Putting by Dave Stockton (the man whose putting lessons Phil Mickleson says have helped him to success). Dave says every player has their signature stroke which is unconscious and strengthening this is the key to brilliant putting. He describes a series of mental tips, such as visualization to get into this place. Fantastic read, and a good illustration of what psychological game golf is.
Watch and learn
You cannot spend a better 12 minutes than watching Dave Cahill of Cahill Golf School in this video. It is a bright, simple step-by-step guide to the most natural putting technique ever. It starts with a simple test to help you find your perfect pivot point. Very useful indeed. And there is the beautiful Palm Springs scenery in the background. Lucky Dave to have such a lovely working environment.
Golf putting drills at home – happy putting
I hope you enjoyed this little article. I am sure that if you follow these drills, you will notice a difference quickly. I have made the training accessible, so you can do them any time you have a few spare minutes.
You can do them inside if it’s raining and out in the yard if it is not. And I know you like to know more about how the game works, so if you are feeling a bit lazy settle down with a video or book. Finally, don’t forget that mental strength, it is a big part of golf.