Master the Course

Saving Pars Through Putting

By Mike O'Malley
Published on

When I watch Pro golfers on Tour, I continually focus on how players are able to make mistakes and then save themselves by draining some critical putts. This is a great lesson for amateur golfers everywhere. Of course, all golfers are going to hit some poor shots, but all golfers can work on saving strokes on the green.
If you can find ways to develop a more consistent and confident putting stroke, you will save yourself from a wide array of less-than-great shots that all golfers are going to hit.
One drill that happens to be one of my favorites is the Circle Putting Drill. The concept is easy, the practice is simple, the benefits are huge. There are a number of variations of the drill, but my recommendation is:
For the Circle Putting Drill:
  1. Find a hole on the practice green and drop five or six balls about 3 feet away from the hole.
  2. Make smooth strokes as you move around the circle, hopefully making each putt.
  3. If you miss, start over until you make them all.
  4. After you've made them all, move the balls out another couple of feet.
  5. Ultimately, move out to about 8 feet. You don't have to make them all, but make enough to know you will feel comfortable and confident anytime you have a putt of this length.
The benefits of this drill are that you will improve your putting fundamentals, you'll develop confidence, and you'll be more used to putting under pressure.
Also important to note:
When faced with a par-saving putt of 6 to10 feet (and we all have quite a few of these), you should hope to make all of these, but do not get frustrated if you miss. You have the ability to make them, but even the best players miss these putts as often as they make them.
Putting is also a frame of mind, you have to accept that you won't make them all. But that doesn't mean you can't make some of them. Using the Circle Putting Drill, you'll start making more. Good luck!