Putting is a game of Visualization and Feel and hence it’s very important you try and heighten those senses whenever you practice. For me putting is an almost pure mental game.
A great way to work on your feel is to take the visual element away and putt with your eyes closed. Suzanne Pettersen actually did this for a while in tournaments, putting everything within 20 ft with her eyes closed. This gives you an idea of how important feel is for putting. I don’t suggest you do it in competition, but when you are on the practice green, give this drill a try and I’ve no doubt you will increase your feel and start holing more putts on the course.
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.
3. When you are about to start your back-swing, close your eyes. Then putt.
Putting Drill 4. Before opening your eyes, make a call on where the putt finished. E.g. short-right, long-left or holed it!
Putting Drills 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.
The reason I have developed a scoring system for this exercise is that I strongly believe you should always practice with pressure. The more you can do this, instead of practicing consequence-free, the more you can feel comfortable when you feel pressure on the golf course. Over time, this exercise will heighten your feel for putts of all distances, build a more confident putting stroke, and ultimately lower scores.