Golf Putting Drills – Know Your Roll

Welcome back to another installment in our instruction series. In the equipment section we talked about how to choose the right putter and made reference to the fact that putting is 40% of your score. Our previous post here in the instruction section provided golf short game drills. Focusing on your short game, which includes putting, is the quickest way to lower your handicap.

These putting drills are certainly not rocket science but this can prove as a handy guide to reference for the best golf putting drills. I know, I know, putting practice is booooooorrrrrring, so as I always encourage, grab a buddy or a few buddies and get to work.

Practicing with buddies (that may or may not include gambling, just saying) adds the element of simulating pressure during competition. As always and without further ado, on with the show!

Gate Drill

This is a very simple drill and will groove your short putts. You have probably seen Tiger does this many, many times.

  • Pick a spot 3-4 feet away from a hole on the practice green. gate-drill
  • Place two tees just outside the toe and heel of your putter creating a “gate” to swing your putter through.
  • Alternate one handed and two handed strokes. Six strokes with your right hand (if you’re righty) and 6 with both hands
  • Set a specific number of holed putts in a row you need to make to complete the drill.
  • The key to this drill is seeing the putter head go straight through the gate and seeing 3-4 footers go in consistently will build confidence.

Clock Drill

Just like it sounds…

  • Take 12 balls and form a circle about 3-4 feet from a hole on the clock-drill putting green.
  • Start at 12 and work your way around, starting over if you miss. This will be a good pressure simulation as you get deep into the drill.
  • This drill gives you several things. 1) Really good feel for your rhythm and 2) Practicing putts in a circle around a hole will test you on a variety of lines and breaks.
  • The end of this drill is simple, make all 12 in a row!

1-2-3 Drill

I like this drill either at the end of a practice session or right before you head to the 1st tee.

  • Place three balls along the same line at three different distances (I suggest 3, 6, 9 feet). 80% of your putts will be inside 10 ft so this is another confidence builder.
  • Roll the putts starting with the one closest to the hole and work your way outward.
  • The drill is over when you have made all three in a row or your buddies are screaming for you to get on the tee.

Yard Stick Drill

Great drill for getting the putter face square at impact.


  • Get a yard stick, metal preferably and place it 6 feet from the hole on the line where you want the ball to start.
  • Set your ball on the end of the yard stick and hit the putt.
  • If the ball stays on the yard stick then your face is square. If it rolls of left you’re closed, right, open.
  • This drill gives immediate and accurate feedback.
  • This is also a good one to do at home because you really don’t need a hole, just a yard stick.

9-Hole Drill

I always like to end with a fun competitive drill. You can compete with yourself or others on this one.

  1. Start with a ball 10 feet from the hole and roll your putt.
  2. Wherever you ball ends up, pull it one foot further away and putt it again. (If you make the first one skip to step 4)
  3. Repeat the process until you make the putt while keeping score (1-putt birdie, 2-putt par, etc.).
  4. Move back to 20 feet and repeat the process.
  5. Do this drill from 10, 20 and 30 feet. Three times each for 9 total holes and keep track of your scores. I bet they will improve.

Know Your Roll

All of these drills will not only make you a better putter but will help you understand what your weaknesses are and what you need to work on. All the drills give very immediate and obvious feedback. Golf putting drills can be boring but when you’re shaving 2 or 3 scores off a round, that won’t be boring.

As always, please feel free to comment or add some drills of your own below. Golfers are and interesting group of folks and I always enjoy meeting the fanatics that like to have discussions. It has been my pleasure.

The Doctor Is OUT…

Doc Mulligan


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