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Putting mental game tips

Published by David MacKenzie

A Few Of The Best Mental Game Putting Drills

I’m a firm believer in putting my students under pressure when they practice – the more you can simulate how you feel on the golf course the better. Putting is a mental game – where scores are made and lost – so it’s really important that you find the best putting drills to test yourself whenever you practice putting, instead of dropping 3 balls down and think that’s really doing any good.

Here are a few good ones, all of which are picked from my practice drills eBook, which has over 40 drills for all areas of the game.


Pressure Putts:

Aim of the game: To put Your Putting Under Pressure by having a consequence for missing

  1. Start 6ft from the hole and try to hole that putt
  2. If you hole it, you move on to the next hole (9 holes in total)
  3. If you miss it, move the ball back from where it finished by one club length and repeat the process
  4. Consider each hole a par 2 and total your score for the nine holes
  5. Try to beat your best score each time


The Sound of Success

Aim of the game: To focus on making a solid putting stroke, not where the ball ends up

  1. Pick a spot 3ft from the hole
  2. Aim at holing 10 putts in a row with your eyes closed, after you’ve gone through your pre-shot routine
  3. If you miss a putt or at any time open your eyes, start over


Make the Hole look Bigger on the Course

Aim of the game: To gain extra confidence on the golf course by making the hole seem bigger than it is

  1. Put 2 tees in the ground just in front of the hole, so they make the hole about half it’s actual width
  2. Try to make 5 putts from 4ft
  3. If you miss start over

This is a good one to try before you go out on the golf course as the hole will seem twice as big giving you more confidence over shorter putts.

A Great Feel Drill

This exercise isn’t really about how many putts you hole, it’s about becoming aware of the feeling associated with the length and direction of each putt. Once you have the line in your mind’s eye and you are correctly aligned, it is all about feel and making a good positive stroke. This drill will help you achieve this.

1. Take 3 balls and a drop them down approximately 10 ft from a hole. I say “drop them” so you don’t have exactly the same putt each time.

2. Go through your putting routine of reading the putt, visualizing the line (and seeing the ball go in), feeling the stroke and addressing the ball. You do have a solid putting routine don’t you?

3. When you are about to start your back-swing, close your eyes. Then putt.

4. Before opening your eyes, make a call on where the putt finished. E.g. short-right, long-left or holed it!

5. When you open your eyes and see where the ball has come to rest, grade yourself on how close you were to the putt you felt. E.g. If you missed long-left and you called it:

Long-left = 2 points
Short-left, Long-right = 1
Short right = 0 points

If you holed it and you called it, give yourself 3 points.
If you holed it and you called a miss, give yourself 2 points.

6. Next pick a hole 15ft away and then repeat for a 20ft putt so you have a total of nine holes. Total up your score and make it a target to beat before you can leave the putting green after your next practice session.

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Photo by Brian McDermott

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About the Author

David MacKenzie

is a golf coach and golf publisher and lives in Washington DC. He is the founder of Golf State of Mind a teaching program designed to help golfers eliminate negative mental interference and play with confidence.



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