How To Stop 3-Putting!

How To Stop 3-Putting
(Image credit: Tom Miles)

In this video and article, Neil Tappin is joined by Tour Coach Liam James to offer some simple pointers on how to stop 3-putting

How To Stop 3-Putting

1 What you do in your practice strokes is critical to long-range putting as it can improve your pace 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!

2 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. 

3 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, after all. 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.

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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.

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If you're looking at how to stop 3-putting 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.

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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
Digital Editor

In his current role, Neil is responsible for testing drivers and golf balls. Having been a part of the Golf Monthly team for over 15 years and playing off a handicap of 3, he has the experience to compare performance between models, brands and generations. For 2022 he thinks the main trend in drivers is: "In a word, consistency. Whilst all the brands are talking about ball speed (and the new drivers are certainly long), my biggest finding has been how much more consistent the ball flights are. Mishits don't seem to be causing the same level of drop-off or increase in the spin numbers. This means that more shots seem to be flying the way you want them to!" As far as golf balls are concerned the biggest development is in the, "three piece, non-Tour, urethane-covered section. For regular golfers, these models offer superb performance at both ends of the bag without denting your wallet quite as much as the premium Tour-played options."


Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he is now the brand's Digital Editor and covers everything from Tour player interviews to gear reviews. In his time at Golf Monthly, he has 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 Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSi2 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