How To Stop 3-Putting!

In this video and article, Neil Tappin is joined by Tour coach Liam James to offer some simple pointers on how to stop three-putting

Tour coach Liam James putting at the London Club
(Image credit: Tom Miles)

There are few things worse as a golfer than consistently three-putting. It is a scorecard killer and can sap the fun out of the game. So, in this video and article, Neil Tappin is joined by Tour coach Liam James to offer some simple pointers on how to stop three-putting for good!

Pace control

Tour coach Liam James making a practice putting stroke at the London Club

Look at the hole on your practice strokes to get a better feel for the pace

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

What you do in your practice strokes is critical to long-range putting as it can improve your distance control and leave you facing fewer testing par saves. On long putts, I would recommend looking at the hole rather than the ground as you take your practice strokes beside your ball. With your target the focus of your attention it can really help you gauge how far back and through the putterhead has to go to get the ball close, or possibly even hole it!

Grip pressure

Tour coach Liam James gripping a putter at the London Club

Keep your grip pressure nice and light to hone a smooth tempo

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

Grip pressure is very important. When you’re feeling a bit anxious, it’s all too easy to grip too tightly, making it harder to get the putter moving the way you want it to through the stroke. To keep your rhythm and tempo, you must grip the putter lightly. Concentrate on lightness as you take your grip so that when you’re ready to go there’s no hint of tightness. 

Aim small

Tour coach Liam James hitting a putt at the London Club

Pick out a small, specific target when putting and really focus on it

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

People often talk about getting it within the dustbin lid from long range, but I don’t think that allows you to focus sufficiently small. I would much rather you keep your focus completely on the hole as you’re taking your practice swings because that is where you want the ball to go. If you start to think too much outside of the hole, then I worry that it offers you too much tolerance and leeway. So keep your focus small.

Purposeful practice

What you do before hitting a long putt has a huge bearing on success, so make sure your preparation and practice are focused and meaningful.

Moving on to holing out consistently from close range, a lot of golfers are guilty of indecision or uncertainty about where to aim and how the putt breaks, which leads to lack of commitment in the stroke and a greater likelihood of missing.

A good drill in practice is to choose your line and then place a tee peg or other small object just behind the hole where you think you need to start your putt – in this instance, fractionally right of centre. As you walk into the putt and take your stance, keep your focus on that tee peg. Picking a really small target like this from short range can really help with your focus and engagement. The beauty is that you could miss your narrow target, yet still hole the putt because the hole is much bigger.

You can do the same thing out on the golf course by really focusing on a particular blade of grass, a blemish at the back of the hole or, these days, even just the narrow flagstick if it’s a straight putt – anything to help you engage better with a precise target.

Neil Tappin

In July 2023, Neil became just the 9th editor in Golf Monthly's 112-year history. Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he has also presented many Golf Monthly videos looking at all areas of the game from Tour player interviews to the rules of golf. 

Throughout his time with the brand he has also covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points. 

Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSR2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons (4-9): Mizuno JPX 919 Forged Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 46˚, 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X