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Three Putting Skills

I hear a lot of people when they talk about getting better as a putter talk about technique and what they change technically to hole more putts.

This is their first mistake.

They need to change the lens in which they are viewing this part of the game. I believe we need to look at putting in terms of skill sets, and each of these skills sets could employ a variety of techniques in order to become skilful in them.

So what are these skill sets you require to become a good putter? 

It’s pretty simple really, you need to be able to….. 

  • Start a ball on your intended line (start line) 
  • Control the speed of the ball to your intended line (speed control) 
  • Pick a line that gives you a chance of holing the putt (green reading) 

So before you embark on ripping up your technique you need to evaluate which of these skills needs the most amount of work?  I see many golfers with good technique that don’t hole putts because of issues with their speed control and green reading.

However, if you still feel that it is your technique that’s the issue then consider this? Do I have a particular bias in the direction I start the ball in. Am I consistently starting the ball left or am I consistently starting the ball right? 

The one difficulty with that question however is on the putting green it’s very difficult at times to appreciate which is which, you are always influenced by where the ball finishes. You could pull a putt and miss the hole right. If you under read that left to right putt enough, even the pull will miss right, and more often or not golfers then think they have hit a push. I see that all the time. Then they go about working on fixing the push in their technique only to then hit more pushes…’s not a great cycle to get caught up in. 

In most cases however golfers have a bias, they will tend to start the ball with their stroke in a consistent direction. Or their bad put will start in a particular direction. Working that out will help work out what aspect of your technique you need to improve. 

A great drill to help ascertain your bias in start line and also give you feedback on your ability to match the speed and make accurate reads is the gate drill. This is one of my favourite drills as you are combining all 3 skills together. 

With a putting gate read the putt and visualize where the ball needs to start. Then place a gate at a specific distance in front of the ball on your start line, it’s worth noting the degrees of error that specific gate widths will create when set at different distances from the ball, for example:

  • A 50mm wide gate at 17 inches requires less than 0.5 degree of error
  • A 50mm wide gate at 11 inches requires less than 0.75 degree of error
  • A 55mm wide gate at 14 inches requires less than 1 degree of error
  • A 55mm wide gate at 19 inches requires less than 0.75 degree of error
  • A 60mm wide gate at 40 inches requires less than 0.5 degrees of error
  • A 60mm wide gate at 20 inches requires less than 1 degree of error

Now attempt to roll the ball through the gate. If you are starting the ball through the gate does the ball have the right speed? If the speed is good is then is the ball going in the hole? If the speed is good and it misses then the read must be out. Feedback on all 3 skills on one putt! That’s great practice! 

Check out the video below where I talk through the Visio Gate pack and how you can benefit from it to help develop the keys skills of putting.

Until next time.

Phil Kenyon

Phil Kenyon

Phil Kenyon

Visio Golf Founder. PGA Master Pro, Specialist Putting Coach. BSc,MSc.

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Phil Kenyon

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