Mark Marshall, PGA Professional, Lake Monticello
When it comes to practicing, the first thing that we can all improve on is putting. I would like for you to own putts 6 feet and in. Putting accounts for forty percent of your overall score and working effectively on the practice green can be time well spent.
The first part of your practice should be skill building with a drill called the “string drill”. All you need is 2 pencils (sharpened) and a piece of string. Wrap the string around each pencil. Select a straight putt of six feet. Stick one pencil in the ground on the opposite side of the hole and stretch the string taught and place the other pencil in the ground at the end of your intended putting line. Make sure the string is directly across the center of the hole. Place the ball directly beneath the string and begin practice. The string gives you a visual of the line and allows you to see your swing path and clubface. Each time you address the ball make sure your eyes are over the string. Practicing this drill helps with the basic fundamentals of swing path and clubface alignment. This is your skill-building phase of practice.
The second part of your practice should be adding the element of pressure. This can be accomplished by playing the “compass drill”. Place 12 balls in a circle around the hole, a minimum distance of 3 feet to a maximum distance of 6 feet. The objective is to follow your pre-putt routine and make 12 in a row. If you miss, then you must start over. Selecting a distance that will challenge you to successfully complete is very important, because you improve putting under pressure when dealing with the struggle before completion. This will allow you the opportunity to work through the struggle and take positive action on your emotions. Upon successful completion of this drill you will feel a real sense of accomplishment, which will inspire you to practice more frequently. This “win” will also build confidence in tangible results. Placing the balls around the hole will allow you to experience a variety of different putts as you will encounter downhill, uphill, and breaking left to right, and right to left.
Call PGA Pro Mark Marshall 434-589-3075 for more information or to reserve a lesson or tee time.