Putting Distance Control – The Key To Success on the Greens

Dan Gold
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Don’t Make the Hole Smaller

The green is the easy part. The green is where you’re supposed to feel confident and good about your game. It’s 54 inches wide and almost half a mile long. What could possibly go wrong?

To keep things in perspective, here are some of the most common mistakes players make on the green.

The most common mistake I see on the green is the tendency to think small. Some players push the pin and hit short of the pin and push their speed right up to the number, thinking they will always have a putt at the pin. This is a stressful strategy that leads to fear of missing. I’ve seen some players spend 10 minutes trying to hit the ball 2 feet from the hole and that’s the only putt they’ll have.

My advice is to start thinking big. You’re thinking wrong if you’re trying to hit the hole. Learn to leave yourself a 20-footer or more.

The other thing that I see a lot of golfers’ miss is giving away the distance from the hole. Many golfers look at the hole and move back and forth trying to get the right distance.

Three Putting

There is only one "secret" to good putting – and that is distance control. It doesn't matter how many putts you have holed (or missed) by a couple of inches, if they were the result of a straight up and down putting motion, then you could not have set up that golf ball to have any better chance of success.

Dr. Thomas Amick, in an article in Score magazine, said that the best of the PGA touring players average a miss on their approaches that is no more than two inches (knife edge) at the 4-foot level.

This is a great target to aim for. If you break down your putting stroke into stages, and work on each stage in detail, you will soon get the feel of good distance control, and also make the most of any skill you may have in reading greens or getting the correct line.

You should perform these drills on the putting green, not in the practice bunker. At least once a week, putt about ten balls on the green without using your putter – just your short irons – shouting out as you hit each shot. Watch the shot go for its first bounce, and then walk over to where it comes to rest. Measure the distance from the hole to the first bounce, and write it down.

How Do You Improve Putting Distance Control?

If you want to improve your putting distance control, the first thing you need to do is to slow down every putt.

If you already do this, next you need to move the ball a consistent distance from left to right on each putt.

This is something that may not be easy for you to accomplish at first. But practice will make it easier.

How? Practice by aiming for the hole and hitting short-stroked putts that land on the green, then gradually increasing the length of the putts.

Remember to practice aiming your putts to different distances from left to right and the just let it happen when you are on the course. You may want to consider putting the ball on a 2-foot circle directly in front of you.

Wrapping It Up

Golfers play the game differently on the green than they do on the tee box or in the fairway. They want to control their ball precisely to create the right speed and stop quickly.

By having the right touch on the green, you can score better.

In this Golf Trick this month, we looked at the difference between the golf swing on the green and the golf swing on the fairway.

There are subtle differences in the positioning of the body and the clubs that the golfer should take into account.

The key is to know how to play the game on the green and to practice to get it right.