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New To Game

Getting Started on the Putting Green

PGA of America
A young woman exhibiting confidence on course
Maulana Dotch, PGA/LPGA

Series: New Golfer

Are you new to the game of golf? I bet one of your first thoughts is if I want to play golf, I need to go to the driving range. That is the typical thought. It is believed that if you want to learn to play golf you have to start at the driving range. This is the way that I and a large majority of golfers learned the game. However, as a PGA and LPGA Professional I have found through my teaching that it is beneficial for the beginner golfer to start learning golf from the putting green back to the tee box.


Building confidence is key to a person’s development and love for the game. I have found starting on the putting green and getting the student used to getting the ball in the hole sooner helps build that confidence that is needed as you start moving back from the green and hitting longer shots.


How is this done?

1.       Start on the putting green. Practice putts from specific distances to the hole, such as 3 feet, 6 feet, and 10 feet.  Start close and continually move back as your confidence builds. Also try putting from different angles all around the same hole.

2.       Next, play nine holes on the putting green from a variety of distances. Put a tee down to mark your starting spot. Putt to a specific hole and continue until you hole out. Put the tee down in another spot and putt to a different hole and continue this process until you have played nine holes. You can even keep your score if you’d like.

3.       Once you feel comfortable with putting, step just off of the green and practice a basic chip shot; no more than 10 to 15 yards from the hole.

4.       Now, put the chip and the putt together. Chip five balls onto the green and then putt those five balls into the hole. Again, keeping your score if you choose.

This is a great practice routine for a beginner golfer. Each step can be a different practice session. Don’t try to do all four steps on the same day. This helps develop feel and confidence in one of the more challenging parts of the game. This is not a one-time routine. Practice this over and over. As you improve you can add distance to the putts and the chip shots.  Just remember, working on your short game first is a sure way to make your game more enjoyable when you are out on the course.