Instruction

Masters 2023: The go-to putting drill for Masters players, explained

April 05, 2023
THE MASTERS
Augusta National Golf Club

Monday Practice Round
April 3rd, 2023

AUGUSTA, Ga. — The practice putting green at the Masters is always a hive of activity. Players, coaches and caddies buzzing around, nervously preparing their putting in the final days before the contest gets underway.

You'll notice all manner of differences once you take in the scene. Different putts, different grips, different styles, and different drills they use to make it all work. There are similarities, of course, but they're also full of subtle variations, each specifically designed to land their stroke in exactly the spot they want it to be. Look closely, and you can end up learning a lot.

Let's dive into the details

Most of the drills players use on the practice putting green have to do with their start line. That's the one go-to drill that rules all on tour putting greens. Players want to make sure their ball is starting in the exact direction they’re intending to, which they can only do if the putter face is square at impact. Because the greens are so lightning fast, it's especially important at the Masters this week. Get your ball started on the right line, and you've won half the battle.

Most players will practice this by setting up a gate a few inches in front of their golf ball. Below, you can see Scottie Scheffler and Kurt Kitayama setting up a series of tees: Two and either side of the putterhead, and two either side of the ball. Swing your putter through the first set, and your ball through the narrower second set, and you’re rolling the ball squarely.

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JD CUBAN

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JD CUBAN

Other players forgo the first set of tees, and focus purely on rolling their ball through a gate. Jordan Spieth employs the use of a Pelz Putting Tutor for that task.

Other players are less concerned with the outcome (AKA, where the ball goes) and more focused on the process (AKA, the stroke itself). It’s your stroke that controls the roll, after all, so that’s what they focus on.

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JD CUBAN

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JD CUBAN

Many players do this by using a visual cue above their ball, like a string or an alignment stick above their ball, which both helps them visualize their start line but also understand how their stroke is moving in relation to it.

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Ben Walton

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Cameron Smith accomplishes this by setting up a series of golf tees. Once again, it acts as a gate, not for the ball but for the putter head. Swing it through cleanly the set of tees uninterrupted, and it’s mission accomplished.

You’ll notice he also uses a mirror under his ball. It speaks to the third key thing that players are focused on: Not simply on their stroke, or the roll, but how their body is positioned. Smith wants to make sure his eyes are over the ball; Danny Willett has a mirror on the ground for the same reason, but also has a training aid to improve his balance, and make sure his weight is over the center of his feet.

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Ben Walton

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Set up the same way every day, the logic goes, and your putting will be more consistent, too.