Howie Pruitt suggests simple drill to improve your accuracy inside 8 feet
Every golfer, from beginner to grizzled PGA Tour veteran, asks the same question: “How can I save strokes on the golf course?” The question is the very essence of golf.
Perhaps surprisingly, the answer is actually quite simple.
“You gain strokes with your putter,” Howie Pruitt, Aspen Lakes director of player development, says flatly.
The path to better putting is nearly as simple. In fact, success can often be found by improving your performance on the easiest shots in a given round: putts inside 8 feet.
Yet, short putts are a skill few amateur golfers pay much mind to. They should. Working on these putts is not particularly complicated and it can pay huge dividends on the scorecard.
A time-tested drill begins on a flat piece of practice putting green. Set up four balls around a hole, each set about 4 feet away. Then work your way around each ball, trying to make each putt.
If you make all four putts, then set up four more balls, this time 8 feet away from the hole. If at any point you miss, you must start over with four new balls set 4 feet away.
The drill might sound overly simplistic, but it actually helps golfers improve in two ways.
“What it does is build confidence for you,” Pruitt says. “It also helps you deal with some of the stress on the golf course. I assure you that when you get to putt No. 4, and you’ve made three, you won’t want to start over again. So there is a pressure to make that fourth putt.”
The drill is nothing new. In fact, some of the best in the game have made the drill a cornerstone of their work on the greens.
“Phil Mickelson is an example. He will come out here and keep doing it until he makes 100 in a row,” Pruitt says. “I’ve never made more than 15 or 20 in a row, so I can only imagine what it’s like to come out here and make 100 4-footers.”
Give it a try and see how many you can make.
Private, group lessons, classes and clinics with Pruitt are all available through the Aspen Lakes PGA Learning Center. Call the Aspen Lakes pro shop at 541-549-4653 for more information. To book a tee time call the golf shop or book online.