4 Putting Drills Guaranteed To Lower Your Scores

Improve your confidence on the greens with these four putting drills

PGA pro Ben Emerson demonstrating his putting drills that will give you more confidence on the greens
(Image credit: Tom Miles)

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4 putting drills guaranteed to lower your scores

If you’re suffering from a lack of confidence on the greens, the road back can seem long. However, don’t despair as it’s likely that you’ve just been working on the wrong things. In the video and article below, PGA pro Ben Emerson shares four brilliant putting drills that will restore your touch and feel and turn your weakness into a strength.

Squaring the face up

This is a great drill to do on the putting green to make sure you’re squaring the face up. Use the alignment aid on your ball - I’m using the triple track lines on the Callaway Chrome Soft - and point it directly at the target you’ve chosen. It could be a hole or a tee in the ground. 

If you cut across the ball and leave the blade open, you’ll notice the lines won’t roll end over end and you’ll miss to the right. If you close the putter down too much, the lines will also be wobbly and the putt will miss left.

PGA pro Ben Emerson demonstrating how to use the alignment aid on your golf ball to help you square the putter face up more effectively

Use the alignment aid on your ball to help you square the face up better and more consistently

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

So, using a few balls when you begin your practice routine, see if you can get them to roll end over end towards your target. Don’t worry if you miss the first couple right or left as you know the reason. Make the adjustments required and make the most of the triple track technology in this simple drill that’ll help you stop pushing short putts and improve the consistency of your start lines and quality of your strike and roll.

Distance control drill

As we know, distance control really is king. If you were to misread a putt by three feet but get the distance correct, you're still odds-on to convert the next one. Therefore it makes a lot of sense to dedicate time to learning how to judge putting distance. But how do you do it? 

The next of Ben's putting drills involves setting up stations to hit to that'll improve your distance control

Set up stations to putt into that'll help you improve your distance control and feel

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

In the video above, Ben has set up a ladder drill using three alignment sticks. The idea is to putt a ball and try to get it to stop within the station. If you do it, move onto the next and so on, until you’ve worked through all the stations, but if you fail, you have to start the whole thing again. It's the most popular drill on tour as it really helps to improve your putting feel. Once you get the hang of it, you can start to make the stations a little smaller.

 Take the hole out of play

Right before heading to the first tee, so many golfers fall into the trap of ending their putting routines by just hitting a couple of balls towards a hole from short range. This might not sound like a negative, but it’s actually lose-lose practice. 

If you hole it, you feel like that’s what you should be doing anyway, so you haven’t gained much. If you miss, even if it’s just one from 100 attempts, when you’re on the course facing a similar putt, the chances are you’ll be thinking of the one you missed on the putting green.

Instead, here’s a great way to give you a bit of extra confidence in those final moments before teeing off. Take the hole out of play and use something small like a tee and lay out a circle of balls around the tee. Once you’ve done this, just putt towards the tee. It's a simple way to learn how to hole out more efficiently.

Taking the hole out of play and putting to a small target is a great way to build confidence before heading to the first tee

Putting to a tee rather than a hole will narrow your focus and increase your confidence 

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

If you miss the tee, it’s not the end of the world. In fact, it’s likely the ball would still have gone in were you putting to a full-size hole. And if you do hit the tee, your confidence grows, which will translate into lower scores. Try this next time you’re on the putting green and keep a score so you have a target to beat each time.

Nine-ball drill

One of the things golfers are guilty of before they begin their round is practising their putting with three balls. This has no resemblance to the real-life scenarios you’re about to be faced with. You only get one go on the course but if you’re using three balls on the putting green, you get feedback if you miss the first and/or second effort and are likely to get it right on the third.

PGA pro Ben Emerson showing how to set up and go through this nine-ball putting drill

This nine-ball drill is a great way to add pressure to your putting practice that'll translate to the course

(Image credit: Tom Miles )

Instead, add this to your bank pre-round putting drills. Set up nine golf balls as Ben has in the video above at short, medium and long range. The best way to ensure you get the most out of this drill is to keep a score and make sure you’re hitting the putts in a completely random order. This is a great way to add pressure to your putting practice which is more likely to translate onto the course when it really matters. 

Ben Emerson
Top 50 Coach

Location: Sand Martins GC 

Ben’s modern approach to golf coaching has seen him become one of the most sought-after coaches in the country and teaches none other than Robbie Williams. His honest, modern and fun style of coaching has help thousands of golfers of all ages and abilities and he has been coaching for over 20 years.

Advice for practice:

Start with slow, small swings. If you can’t do it small and slowly there is not a hope in hell of doing it at full speed with a full swing! In other sports such as rugby or martial arts they slow learn new moves/plays before making them at full speed. 

Teaching philosophy: 

‘Why guess when you can access’ Ever new student goes through a full TPI movement screen, 3D motion capture and pressure plate analysis as well as TrackMan and 2D video analysis. Coaching is based on facts and not guess work. 

Most common problem:

A lack of clubface understanding and awareness. I get golfers to aim the clubface directly at the target and get them to make a slow swings and deliver the club to the ball with an open face, then repeat the same thing again but with a closed face, followed by one at the target. Giving them full awareness based on feelings errors to find a happy middle ground.