The end of the 2015 PGA Tour left us with some interesting statistics to ponder, and adjust our goals for the next playing season (tomorrow, here in Arizona). How about this result (ugh) oriented goal: Make all my putts from three feet! Caution! Caution! Big Mistake Alert! Of all the PGA Tour players that played during 2015 only seven made 100% of their three footers. Jason Day made 612 straight (my old F-16 squadron was 612 TFS…subtile trivia, hence the mention of Jason’s 612), but the real horse was Daniel Summerhays who drizzled in 941!
We’ve all been told the old legendary drill of placing a five dollar bill in the hole on the practice green, line up 100 three foot putts, and make them all. If you miss, leave the money in the cup, thus paying for your lack of skill, and walk away in shame. (They say Phil used to practice that way.) It’s also block training, which isn’t best for putting. The drill I’ll ask you to use looks like block training, but we’ll adjust the sequence and make it OK. The biggest reason most of us miss any putt is a poor aim, but in the realm of the dreaded three footer we can miss by as much as three degrees and still make it. So the most likely culprit is rotating the putter face at impact; we’re all guilty! A very good way to train square face control is to build a gate along the line of the putt that will deflect the ball if the face moves more than one degree. One set of parameters is to place two tees exactly 2.16 inches apart on each side of the putt line exactly 14 inches in front of the ball. Maintain a square face through impact and the ball rolls between the uprights. In case you don’t carry a tape measure in your golf bag try placing the tees half the width of your putter face (they’re usually 4.5 inches or so wide) and the ball three putter faces away; that’s pretty close.
To make the training more random do the three foot gate drill in sequence after practicing a 5, 10, 15, and 20 foot putt (that’s more like how Mr. Summerhays did it). Your brain will remember the skill better, you’ll make more three footers, and you won’t throw away five dollars.