Getting “Tipsy” with your putter

by Dan M | Posted on Friday, November 25th, 2016

tipsyOne of the quickest ways to improve your golf score is to spend more quality time on putting. We’re fortunate in Texas that winters are mild, but for a lot of the country the winter months won’t allow golfers to get out and work on their games as much.

Here’s a simple putting drill I devised years ago for those who can’t get out to the golf course because of poor weather conditions or just too busy to practice. This tip involves getting “Tipsy’ with your putter.

Golfers have a tendency to get overloaded with multiple swing thoughts or ill timed advice that can overwhelm the brain. People mean well, but sometimes their advice can be mis-construed and this in turn can send your scores soaring and confidence out the window. Soon you won’t be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. It’s the old ‘Too much analysis causes paralysis syndrome.”

So, this tip as it relates to your putting stroke can easily be practiced in the privacy of your home or office. All you’ll need is a golf ball, your putter and a small paper or plastic cup like the one shown in the photo. When it comes to putting there are two well-known schools of thought: “Never up, Never in” and “Let the ball die at the hole.” The former may work well on slow greens, but it will lead to many three putts on fast greens. With that approach the ball has only one door..the front to enter the hole. If you follow the latter philosophy, the ball has three doors in which it can enter; the front and both sides.

The reason you want to use a lighter cup is not only are you trying to putt your ball into it, you’re also trying to make the cup stand up as shown in the photo. This may look easy, but it will demand your utmost attention I promise. The idea here is to not only help you make a good stroke on-line to your intended target, but to also ensure you are using the correct amount of speed on the putt. Just rapping a ball hard into the cup really doesn’t serve any purpose, especially on shorter putts, because you’re not executing the right technique to simulate what you would do on the golf course. Because the cup is so light there is less margin for error, as compared to using a coffee cup or heavier drinking cup. There is golf and there is putting. Putting is one stroke everyone should be good at, but alas, many are not. Make sure the few minutes you can spare to work on your stroke are spent wisely, because quality, not quantity, is the operative word here. Practicing putting to a smaller target such as the cup will really help fine tune your skills. I would start off with short putts and gradually work your way back. When done correctly this translates into you not only getting your ball on the right path to the target, but you’ll also have the proper amount of speed. In this drill if you hit your putt too hard it may go into the cup and spill over backward, which means you had a good line, but too much speed. Too much side or backspin on your putting stroke will make your ball hit the lip of the hole and spin out, which I jokingly like to call “Liprosy”.  If you put in a little time now with this putting exercise I can guarantee you that this drill will help your cup “runneth over with plenty of birdies and must-have pars”.

Tom Ward can be contacted at www.teetimewithtom.com

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