Pre round putting drills

Golf Monthly Top 25 coach Andrew Reylonds has some drills to help you refine your stroke and hole more putts.

putting drills
(Image credit: Tom Miles)

Golf Monthly Top 25 coach Andrew Reylonds has some pre round putting drills to help you refine your stroke and hole more putts this weekend.

Pre round putting drills

Never start your putting practice by hitting 12 footers towards a hole; nothing will threaten your confidence more than missing a succession of these.

Instead, aim at a spot 10ft away, hit five balls and try to get them to finish as close as possible to each other.

Keep repeating this until you feel your stroke and distance control are spot on. Only once you’re ready should you move on to the following drills.

Dustbin-lid drill

There are two distinct elements to being a good putter. Firstly, you need to be able to hole out nervelessly under pressure from close range.

Secondly, you need your lag putting to be spot on for distance. If you can roll 30-plus footers up dead more often than not, you’ll take pressure off the rest of your game.

That’s why I like this dustbin-lid drill. Using my putter I mark a circle around the hole, as shown, and then walk 30ft away.

From here, the aim is to hit 10 consecutive putts within the dustbin lid. Sounds easy, but if you miss, you should start again from zero. This will add an important shred of pressure to your practice.

Read more top putting tips

Three-foot test

Here is a drill that I always set my players. Simply mark out a putter’s length from the hole, put a tee peg in the ground and try to hole 25 consecutive putts.

Again, it sounds easy, but the nearer you get to the magic number, the harder it will become. You’ll be able to call on this experience as you try to make knee-knocking three-footers in competition.

If you get to 25, why not carry on? One of my pupils once holed 1,000 consecutive three-footers. Impressive effort!

Birdie putt practice

Another area of the game on the greens that is worthy of your attention is those ‘makeable’ mid-range putts.

Make one or two of these a round, and it will really help your scoring average. I’ve put tee pegs in the ground at eight, nine, 10, 11 and 12ft from the hole.

The aim is to hit five putts from the first tee. Starting at 8ft, once you hole two, you can move on to the next tee.

As with the other drills, there is a little element of pressure created by the test. Trust me, this will really pay off when you are out there performing under pressure.

Andrew Reynolds
Andrew Reynolds

Location: Royal Cinque Ports

Andrew was appointed Head Professional at Royal Cinque Ports in 1978, aged just 23. He is only the sixth professional in the club's 125-year history. From 2010 to 2013, he was lead coach for the Mens England “A” squad and helped work with many established European Tour players. Andrew also enjoyed success on the European Senior Tour, most notably his top-20 finish in the Senior Open Championship at Turnberry.

Teaching philosophy:

Different golfers have different aims, so players' hopes must be discovered before a ball is struck. The player is buying our experience to take them on a journey which will, hopefully, exceed their expectations. I try to keep the learning experience fairly light to keep the player relaxed and make the time together enjoyable for us both. We generally need to ‘de-clutter’ players' golfing brains and put a filter system in place to help people understand the important factors. 

Most significant influences:

Ernest Jones’s book, ‘Swing the Clubhead’, who stressed that if your set up was neutral, balanced and correct, all body actions were responsive to the club swinging. Peter Thomson, too. He chatted to Henry Longhurst, whom he allowed to explain his simple thinking - set up squarely, point the club at the target, take it away from the ball on the same path that the club attacks the ball on, then from the top of the backswing just bring it back to the ball. Both Jones and Thomson understood the difference between cause and effect. Modern technology allows us to analyse the golf swing in a very technical manner, which has now proved that both were ahead of their time in making a golf swing a simple exercise. We must remember that it’s the clubhead that we are swinging.

Advice for practice:

A structured and disciplined practice session is the only way to develop your golfing skills to the maximum. Always make sure that your setup is perfect before any swing begins - it’s pointless to work on a swing change with an inconsistent and changeable setup. A different setup means a different swing.