By Derek Highley
Everybody loves to step up to the tee and bomb a drive that flies high and far or hit that perfect iron shot. You know the one that is struck so squarely right on the sweet spot that you don’t even feel it.
The truth is when it comes to capitalizing on those nice shots you need to be able to get the ball in the hole. Nothing can derail a round quicker or is more frustrating than routinely missing short putts.
I am a firm believer that speed control is the most important factor when it comes to good putting. Using the “putt to the coin” drill is a great way to get the feel for hitting your putts the correct speed and to free yourself up from being locked in on the line when attempting short putts.
To get started, find an old cup hole on the practice green. You want to use an old cup as opposed to an open one because you want your ball to roll over the old mark so you can see how far past the hole you roll your putts.
Place a coin 18 inches behind the old hole mark. Why 18 inches? That is how far a put hit with the perfect speed should stop. This speed allows putts that are a bit off line to “lip in,” while it is still firm enough to not be affected by imperfection in the green. Your goal with this drill is roll putts to the coin placed behind the cup.
Then place a tee on each side of the old cup about half a ball width from the lip. The tees represent how the increased size of the cup from puts that “lip in” because of the proper speed. This will give you more confidence over short putts because you now have a bigger target.
Your focus should be on getting the right speed. Let the line take care of it self. Putts coming up short of the coin where not hit hard enough, while putts going past the coin where too firm. You will quickly discover your tendency.
You are now all set to start working on making more of those knee-knocking three to six-foot puts.
All great putters have one thing in common, superior distance control. Using this drill to help you improve your distance control will not only help you make more short putts, but also will transfer over and help with long and lag putting.
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