How to Practice Putting at Home
Improving your putting makes it much easier to reach your scoring objectives in golf, whether that means breaking 90 or breaking 75. During the long, cold winter months when you can't get out to play or on rainy days in the South, develop a regular game-improvement routine that includes exercises such as stretching and plenty of putting practice.
Lay out the artificial turf on a flat surface. Tile, wood or concrete surfaces make the best bases, but you can overlay the turf on carpeting. Attach the cup to the turf with the double-stick tape.
Measure in 3-foot increments up to 15 feet away from the cup.
Lay a strip of masking tape at each 3-foot increment. The tape should be out of the way of the line of sight to the cup.
Stand at the 3-foot mark closest to the cup and putt the ball into the cup. Choose a certain number of putts that must be made from the 3-foot mark before you move back to the next mark.
Move back to the 6-foot mark. Continue to putt until you've made the number of putts that is your goal.
Move back to the 9-foot mark, then to the 12-foot mark and finally to the 15-foot mark. This drill teaches how much force you need to use to reach the hole from different distances.
Hold the putter lightly between your thumb and forefinger at the tip of the grip in front of you, so that the shaft is perpendicular to you. Tap the putter face lightly with a metal ballpoint pen.
You'll know you have found the "sweet spot," or the center of percussion, on your putter when neither the heel nor the toe of the putter swings back when tapped. The sweet spot is where you want to always hit the ball. It can be located in different spots on different putters but is typically in the middle of the putter's face.
Draw a 6-foot-long line on the golf mat with a piece of chalk and a straight edge. Place the ball on the line.
Assume your putting stance and putt the ball. Hit the ball so that it moves straight down the chalk line. If it veers off to the right, it is making contact with the club more toward the heel than the sweet spot. If it goes to the left, the club is hitting the ball more toward the toe.
Increments of Break
Hold the putter so that its face is square to the ball and so the putter makes a 90-degree angle with the chalk line.
Place the ball on the chalk line and hit the ball. The ball should go straight down the chalk line.
Now hold the putter so the face angle is open.
The toe of the putter will be slightly away from the line and the heel slightly toward the line. Hit the ball.
It will go off the chalk line at an angle to the right. The more the face angle is open, the more it will diverge from the line.
Hold the putter so the face angle is closed.
The toe of the putter will be slightly toward the line and the heel slightly away from the line. Hit the ball. It will go off the chalk line at an angle to the left.
Practice shots with the putter face square, with the face open and with the face closed at different distances from the hole to get a feel for how much the path is changed by the adjustment in the angle of the clubhead. When you start playing rounds again, this will help you better judge where to hit the ball on putts that have break in them.
Brian Hill is the author of four popular business and finance books: "The Making of a Bestseller," "Inside Secrets to Venture Capital," "Attracting Capital from Angels" and his latest book, published in 2013, "The Pocket Small Business Owner's Guide to Business Plans."