Matt is a simple mind. He will never get too technical or concerns himself with golf theory. This is a good thing and a personality trait that should fast track his performance. Mindful of keeping things simple here’s the putting strategy that I gave him…
Practice only two types of putts – 30 footers and 3 footers.
The objective is to get the longer putts to around 3 feet from the hole. Then get good at making most of those short putts. Here’s the full story.
Matt’s normal practice routine is to mindlessly putt from hole to hole. He has no strategy or objective for his practice time. Like the full swing, this purposeless practice is a waste of time and is holding him back. He usually stands over each putt and tries to get it into the hole – if it goes in all well and good and if it misses he doesn’t care. Not good.
The new strategy is to use one ball. Start with a longish putt (about 30 feet but it doesn’t exactly matter) and attempt to get it within 3 feet of the hole. If the putt finishes close to the hole then it is a perfect putt. The objective is not to make these putts (some will find the hole through statistical probability) or hit them past the hole (again, not possible and this mindest likely to send the ball way past the hole), he needs to get them within a three foot circle of the hole.
Matt then needs to get really good at making these 3 footers. By really good he needs to make 99% of them. The only way to get good is to practice them.
But what about the 6 footers and the 50 footers?
They don’t really matter. By getting good at holing the short putts he will instinctively improve putting from 4 – 20 feet. And the super long putts don’t matter. We don’t have many of them and when we do the goal is to get them somewhere near the hole. A 50 foot putt is not overly different from a 30 footer – just hit it a bit harder.
Most importantly, this putting practice strategy will get Matt thinking correctly. He will learn to mimic the mindset he needs under pressure. In time he will learn to lag the longer putts and make the majority of the short ones. This is all he (or you) need to be a great putter.
So why does this work?
It’s simple. It’s not possible to make those long putts with any certainty. Sure, you’ll make the odd one but the goal really should be not to three-putt. But it is possible to make a lot of those three-footers (Tiger hasn’t missed one in years!). If you can confidently strike these into the hole you can virtually eliminate those dreaded three-putts.