Nicola Stroud, Head Teaching Professional at Burnham & Berrow Golf Club gives you tips on how to visualise your putts better
Three putting usually occurs after a poor first putt which leaves you with a 2–4-foot second putt. You then invariably miss the next putt because you’re still berating yourself about the first. You’re therefore taking your focus off the job at hand, which is to concentrate on your routine and processes to get the job done!
In the previous article, I helped you to practice those difficult to hole putts under pressure. Now I’m going to introduce you to a couple of drills that will help you avoid leaving yourself those tricky distances in the first place.
These drills are perfect for game days - try them during your pre-round putting practice:
“Dustbin lid” drill
Everyone has heard the phrase “just imagine the hole is a dustbin lid”, however, have you ever practiced it? And do you really understand its importance? If the answer is no, then you really are missing out.
Place the same colour tees approximately a foot apart in a semi-circle to the back of the hole at a distance you regard as your “tap in distance” and make sure one of the tees is directly in line with your ball line.
Standing at a distance that you regard as medium to long, look at the tees and imagine it is a cut out hole (the size you might see at footgolf). Imagine this is your hole – how much easier would it be if it was the actual size?! Look at the tee peg directly behind the hole, it will look only a couple of inches in diameter from the hole but you know it is at least a foot – this is an error in your perception of the size of your “dustbin lid hole” and the reason so many putts are left extremely short of the hole.
With 5 balls, try to get all 5 balls into the “dustbin lid”. You can bring a couple of tees to the front, however, try to get the balls into the hole or finishing behind – remember, “never up, never in!”
“This hole is massive!” drill
Place a tee peg in the green, then putt a ball from just 2-3 feet to the tee peg, trying to tap the peg or leave the ball resting on it.
After a dozen putts, now putt into a hole from the same distance – now the hole will feel massive compared to the tee peg. To take this drill to the next level, place the tee peg on the middle/back position of the hole so you can focus on that, ensuring you putt more positively to reach the back of the hole.
Like everything else, you have to train yourself to be mentally stronger and to become sharper at visualisation, so try to diarise time to work on these drills and make sure you practice them before each game.
PLEASE NOTE: Quality practice is better than practice that is “just going through the motions” and don’t forget to focus on these visualisation techniques when you’re on the course too.
Words by Nicola Stroud
In the second of her Mental Game Series Nicola Stroud talked about how you can keep your golf game on track for 18 holes - read the full article.