By Tom Clarke
Andrew Jones describes some basic techniques that will help you improve your putting distance control and eliminate those frustrating three-putts.
Putting distance control video
If you can consistently hit putts at the right pace, you’ll eliminate 3-putts and hole your share of outside chances. Here’s what to do…
To get the pace of your putts right you need to strike them sweetly. One of the keys to this is posture. I see a lot of players getting into what I call a ‘relaxed’ address position.
Shoulders curved and hands too low, this makes delivering the putter correctly to the ball for a solid contact almost impossible.
So stand to the ball with an athletic posture - sticking your bum out, keep your back straight, bend at the hips, flex your knees and let your arms hang down naturally.This is the ideal position from which to get the ideal pendulum rhythm and sweet contact.
Again, another key to consistently good contacts is to have the ball in the right position at address.
If it is too far forward in your stance you’ll get a topping-type strike, too far back and you’ll hit down on the ball causing it to pop up in the air.
So set the ball just ahead of your sternum at address. This will ensure you catch it slightly on the upswing which will impart a little top spin on the ball for a stronger roll.
For good distance control you need a stroke with an even pace. You should avoid making either a short, jerky jab at the ball or a long deceleration at the ball.
A good guide is to try and get the length of the stroke the same either side of the ball. For mid or long range putts, try to get the putter head past your right foot on the way back and past your left foot on the way through.
This should mean that you have a smooth acceleration of the putter head through the ball at impact for the best in pace control.
Here’s a drill that works really well to develop your pace control while also creating a little pressure.
Find a flat putt and place a collection of balls on the ground. Place a tee 10ft from you and another at 50ft from you.
Hitting your first putt just past the first tee peg, the idea is to hit each putt past the previous one. How many balls can you hit before you go beyond the far peg?
It’s a simple drill but one that requires supreme pace control to do well. The more balls you can get in the gap, the better!
Developing a good feel for the pace of the greens means that every putt you hit, whether uphill or downhill has a chance of going in. Here’s a drill that tests you from a range of positions.
Place a number of balls around the fringe of the green as I have done here. The aim is to 2-putt at worst, from each position.
Here's an alternative version of this round the clock drill that's worth a try...
You’ll face uphill, downhill, cross slope, short and long putts so reaching the end with a good score in tact is a great way to test your pace putting.
Shot on location at Oceanico Amendoeira, Portugal by Mark Newcombe
Tom Clarke joined Golf Monthly as a sub editor in 2009 and was promoted to content editor in 2012 and then senior content editor in 2014. Tom currently looks after all the digital products that Golf Monthly produce including website and social media. Tom plays off 17 and lists Augusta National, Old Head and Le Touessrok as the favourite courses he has played. Tom is an avid viewer of all golf content with a particularly in depth knowledge of the pro tour.