Travelers Championship

TPC River Highlands

DIY Golf Fixes

This simple drill with a bath towel can solve your short-putting woes

This is the key to start nailing those gimme putts that you can’t seem to sink

David Leadbetter Putting Instruction

Putting—it’s the one facet of the game even beginners feel like they can manage without looking silly. That’s what makes missing the short ones so infuriating. How can something so simple sometimes be so difficult? Although you might want to put the blame on being nervous, the more likely issue is what you’re doing during the stroke.

If you’re frequently missing short putts, especially ones where the ball doesn’t even catch the edge of the hole, there’s a good chance you’re moving your body too much. Have a buddy put your mobile-phone camera to use and video you while you putt. Pay close attention to your body action, not the stroke.

David Leadbetter Putting Instruction
David Leadbetter Putting Instruction
David Leadbetter Putting Instruction

Do you see any movement in your lower body? Bingo! That’s the culprit on so many of those short misses. Any movement in the lower body is a putting killer. When you can’t stay still from the waist down, you’re likely affecting your ability to keep the putter’s face square to your line of putt. (I’m assuming your ability to read the break on the short ones is pretty accurate.)

What’s going on when your body is too active? My theory is that you’re probably anxious to see the result (like I'm demonstrating above) so you come out of your posture. Or, the expectation of making the short ones prompts you to try to steer the ball into the hole. Neither will help you make a smooth stroke with a square putterface, which is key to sinking these putts.

To fix this problem, grab a regular bath towel and pin it under your arms and across your chest. Keep it there as you practice hitting putts, using your abdomen to control the stroke (photos, below). Now here’s the key: Feel like your lower body is perfectly still as you practice your stroke with the towel. This drill works because it calms all that extraneous movement.

When you have this feeling grooved, remove the towel and re-create the same stroke like you're facing a four-footer to win the Masters. When you hear the putt rattle in the bottom of the cup, you can then picture yourself slipping on the green jacket.