It’s fun to play with a handicap — until it isn’t! And when it comes to shaving points off your handicap index, there are many aspects of your game you must improve.
One of them is the short part of your short game — your putting.
Putting is one of the most crucial parts of any golfer’s game. After all, putting is to golf what scoring a touchdown is for football.
Having sharp skills behind your putter can mean the difference between improvement and staying at your 20 handicap. Luckily, we’ve compiled five of the best putting drills for high handicappers. These drills will improve your accuracy and consistency so you can find your handicap index dropping faster than rain on a Scottish links course over time.
It’s time to put that driver away and start taking notes so you can sharpen your putting game with these putting drills for high handicappers!
One of the most common problems in putting is controlling your speed and power. If your putt lacks power or has too much of it, you’ll miss, risking a bogey or two.
The best drill we’ve found that helps you control putting power is the paper drill. For this drill, you’ll need a piece of paper, your putter, and a ball. If you don’t have paper, use a paper-based folder like a Manila folder.
Once you’ve got everything ready, follow these steps to master your pop to your putt:
1. Place the Paper or Folder on a Level Surface
We’ll worry about simulating your putts on uneven surfaces later. For now, use a leveled playing surface like a practice green or your living room.
With your piece of paper or Manila folder, find a flat surface and set the folder or paper down there. Preferably, you’ll want the paper to be 10 feet from you, as you’re likely to putt from this distance during a real game.
2. Putt toward the Paper or Folder.
Once you’ve set up your piece of paper or folder, stand 10 feet back, set up, and putt. Don’t worry too much if your ball goes slightly sideways as long as it ends up on the folder or paper.
3. Goal: Getting the Ball to Stop on the Paper or Folder
The point of this drill is to get the ball to stop on the folder. As much as possible, the ball should end up near the middle of the paper or folder you’ve set up.
The Yardstick Drill
After you’ve consolidated your power behind the ball, it’s time to work on the consistency of your ball’s path. A drill we’ve found that helps golfers take their putts from crooked to straight is the yardstick drill.
As the name implies, you’ll need a yardstick for this drill. And don’t forget your putter and ball, per usual.
1. Line up the Yardstick toward the Hole
Begin by setting up your yardstick so that it points perfectly toward the hole.
2. Place the Ball at the Tip of the Yardstick
The ball must be on one end of the yardstick. If you want to make the drill tougher, place the ball beyond the yardstick’s tip, but still in line with it.
3. Roll Your Putt in a Controlled Manner
Here’s the tricky part:
You’ll have to putt in a way that the ball never deviates from the yardstick. If the ball falls off the stick, it can mean two things:
First, your clubhead may be tilted too much to one side.
Second, you may be a little too loose with your grip.
The yardstick drill is valuable for high-handicap golfers since it’s a simulation that gives you instant feedback.
The Gate Drill (Thanks, Tiger!)
The yardstick drill may have given you some insight into how you roll your putt and grip your club. Once you’ve diagnosed your shortcomings in the yardstick drill, you can fix those errors with the gate drill.
The gate drill is an innovation by the master himself, Tiger Woods. The gate drill helps you develop more consistent and straight strokes for rolling in your putts.
For this drill, you’ll need two golf tees — the ball is optional.
1. Create the Gate
Set up a putting gate by placing the golf tees in front of each other. Leave a gap that’s just long enough to accommodate the length of your putter’s clubhead, from its hosel to the toe.
2. Putt Between the Gate Using One Hand, then Two
The objective is to consistently roll your putt without touching the gate. Once you’ve developed consistency, you can move onto using two hands.
3. Optional: Use a Ball
After developing consistency, you can add your ball to the drill. Over time, you’ll notice that the ball travels in a straight line after you’ve mastered this drill.
The 1-2-3 Drill
Once you get to this drill, you’ll have already developed your putting grip and stroke. Now, it’s time to actually sink some golf galls on the green!
1. Line up Three Golf Balls in a Straight Line
When you arrange the golf balls, you’ll want one ball three feet from the hole, the next six feet from the hole, and the last nine feet away from the hole. They should all be in line with one another.
“Why three, six, and nine feet,” you may ask?
This is because you’ll likely be putting at these distances during an actual game. This is especially true if you haven’t mastered the other aspects of your short game, like your chipping.
2. Putt the Balls from Closest to Furthest
Start with the ball that’s three feet away from the hole. You can only move on to the next ball after you have sunk the closest ball into the hole.
After you’ve sunk the first ball, move on to the next. Once again, you can only move on to the last ball after making a successful putt.
Optional: Run the Drill Indoors!
Is it pouring outside? Don’t let the weather get in the way of your handicap-lowering efforts. You can run the 1-2-3 drill indoors; just use a glass or paper cup for the hole.
The Clock Drill
The 1-2-3 drill allows you to find your rhythm when you roll your putt. After determining your grip and rhythm, you can amp up the difficulty with the clock drill!
If we had to summarize what the clock drill is, we’d say it’s the 1-2-3 drill on steroids. You’ll see what we mean once you’ve read the steps!
1. Surround the Hole with 12 Golf Balls
Set up the golf balls as you would in the 1-2-3 drill, but do this four times at the 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’clock positions. As with the 1-2-3 drill, the balls in each line must have three-foot gaps between them.
2. Start with the Balls Closest to the Hole
Begin by sinking the first four balls around the hole. Just like the 1-2-3 drill, you can’t proceed unless you’ve gotten the closest balls into the hole.
Each time you miss, reset. For example, if you sank three out of four balls from the three-foot mark and then missed, start over entirely until you get all four in without any mistakes.
3. Proceed by Distance
Now, proceed to the balls at the six-yard mark. Sink all of these in before moving to the balls nine feet away from the hole.
4. Take Note of the Number of Times You Had to Reset
By the end of the drill, you’ll realize that you may have reset a few times… or a lot of times. Keep track of the number of times you had to reset. Each time you run the clock drill, record your resets so you can track your progress, aiming for fewer resets each time.
Before you know it, you’ll be sinking your putts from anywhere!
Bonus Drill: 100-Putt Drill
If you’re looking for a fun confidence-building drill, look no further. The 100-putt drill teaches you to sink your putts into the cup a hundred times!
The drill is straightforward. All you need is a golf tee and 100 golf balls. Place the tee three to five feet away from the cup, place a ball next to the tee, and roll your putt.
The key is to focus on your line of sight, technique, rhythm, and clubhead alignment — all that good stuff you’ll have worked on in the other five drills!
The 100-putt enables you to get more reps in for practice. Most importantly, there’s just nothing more satisfying than sinking putts 100 times!
Putt Your Way to a Lower Handicap Index!
Focusing on your putting game will give you the skills to lower your handicap score. By practicing these putting drills for high handicappers, you’ll be shaving points off your handicap index just in time for your next game!