5 Expert Putting Drills From A Four-Time DP World Tour Winner

Learn how to putt like a champion and make more birdies with these 5 expert putting drills...

DP World Tour Winner Andy Sullivan reading and hitting a putt at a DP World Tour event
These 5 expert putting drills could transform your fortunes with the flat stick...
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Improving putting performance will be high on the priority list for most amateur golfers as the season kicks into gear, but just reading the latest golf tips won't necessarily help you translate theory into practice.

Instead, combining the best putting tips with some great putting drills could prove to be the recipe for success. Even the best putter on the PGA Tour needs to hone this crucial skill, so following suit and spending time on the practice green will surely pay dividends on the course.

In this article, four-time DP World Tour winner Andy Sullivan shares five expert putting drills that will help you to sink more putts and make more birdies...

1. Stack 'em up 

This is my go-to drill when working on pace control, and is one of the most popular drills on tour. I start by marking out a five-foot gap between two tees. Then, I pop another tee down about ten feet away to mark where I’m going to putt from.

The aim is to ‘stack’ the balls up in the gap. Each one has to go further than the last. However, no ball is allowed to finish outside this five-foot zone. My first putt has to make it inside this area, too. If it doesn’t, I have to start again.

DP World Tour Winner Andy Sullivan demonstrating the stack 'em up putting drill

The stack 'em up drill is a great way to develop feel on the greens

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

I once saw Marc Warren get 11 in, which is pretty impressive. Normally, if you can get five in, you’re doing really well. When I’m dialled in, I can just inch each ball slightly further than the last. I love this drill because there’s no hole involved, and it gives me a great sense of the pace of the greens before I go out and play. 

Try repeating this drill three or four times before you go out and play at the weekend – as opposed to quickly just throwing some balls down and trying to hole them – and I guarantee it’ll be a more effective warm-up. 

2. The spiral

I tend to do my three- to eight-foot spiral drills on a Tuesday or Wednesday before a tournament, not during actual competition days. I’ll aim to hole the closest putt and then move on to the next one. Miss and I’ll stay where I am. I’ll keep doing it until I get all the way round without missing. 

The more you hole of these and the more you see the ball going into the hole, the greater your confidence will become. If you’re kind to yourself, and give yourself nice flat putts, it shouldn’t take that long!

DP World Tour winner Andy Sullivan demonstrating the spiral putting drill

The spiral will test all aspects of your putting technique and green reading ability

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

However, ideally you want some shallow breaks, so every putt is slightly different. It gets you used to matching pace and line. With any drill where you’re scoring yourself – so, record how many attempts you’ve had – it adds a bit of pressure and it tests your perseverance as well. 

3. Two-putt test

Before I tee off, I like to hit putts from roughly 30, 40, 50, 60 and 70 feet – so five putts in total – and I challenge myself to two-putt every one. It’s another good pace challenge – and, of course, read – with a bit more emphasis on the outcome. 

I think a lot of amateurs feel like it’s a hassle to set up a drill, but this is so easy – you don’t need 20 million tees! It doesn’t matter if your practice green is small – the drill can still be effective when putting from 10, 20 or 30 feet. I never like to leave the putting green until I’ve successfully completed this drill.

DP World Tour Winner Andy Sullivan demonstrating a putting drill on the putting green

Giving yourself two-putts from longer distances will help you to improve your pace and line when putting

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

4. Holing out

Again, this is a really simple drill. Put a tee down at three, four and five feet from the hole – longer if you like – and just move back after holing each one.  

These outcome drills are necessary, but I think club golfers can get a little too hung up with them. They’re great if you can box them all – but what happens if you don’t?

DP World Tour Winner Andy Sullivan practicing a holing out putting drill on the putting green

These outcome drills are necessary, but don't become fixated on the end result

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

It’s why, as with the spiral drill, I do this kind of work on the days leading up to a tournament, not during the actual competition itself. And it’s why drill number one (pace control) would be my favourite, and one I’d probably recommend amateurs try adopting more than any other, certainly immediately before teeing off. 

5. Pace drill

The aim is to get each ball to finish a foot behind the hole (if it doesn’t drop). Just put down a tee or club behind the cup to mark that spot. 

I remember playing Jordan Spieth in the 2011 Walker Cup and every putt of his seemed to go in at the same pace, no matter where he was putting from – and, if it missed, it would finish 18 inches to two feet behind the hole. It was ridiculous.

DP World Tour winner Andy Sullivan demonstrating a putting drill on the putting green

Setup a scoring system to challenge yourself and keep the drill engaging

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

For amateurs, I recommend taking the hole out of the equation as much as possible. Drills like this one will encourage you to get more into read and pace. You can add a scoring system to challenge yourself: minus a point for leaving it short, two points for holing it and a point for leaving the ball a foot behind the hole should it miss. 

Michael Weston
Contributing editor

Michael has been with Golf Monthly since 2008. As a multimedia journalist, he has also worked for The Football Association, where he created content to support the men's European Championships, The FA Cup, London 2012, and FA Women's Super League. As content editor at Foremost Golf, Michael worked closely with golf's biggest equipment manufacturers, and has developed an in-depth knowledge of this side of the industry. He's now a regular contributor, covering instruction, equipment and feature content. Michael has interviewed many of the game's biggest stars, including six world number ones, and has attended and reported on many Major Championships and Ryder Cups. He's a member of Formby Golf Club.