Putt Your Way to Better Scores
by Chris Haarlow

As the school golf season is underway, there will be plenty of areas for the juniors to work on to lower their scores. The quickest way to lower their scores is to spend more time on the practice putting greens. The practice routine below is a common practice session typically seen on the PGA and LPGA Tours.
A lot of pros divide their practice putting sessions into three parts; making short putts, variable distance control and practicing like you play. This practice structure will give the juniors a set manner to practice each time and increase their enjoyment of practice as well.
The best players position themselves four to five feet from the hole and find a straight, flat putt. After marking that spot with a tee or coin so they putt from the some place every time, they work on simply making putts. This allows them to set-up the same way each time and work on their putting mechanics. The second block of time the pros focus on is practicing from variable distances. They may putt multiple balls to the fringe of the green or to random holes. Without putting the second putts into the hole, they work on controlling the speed of the ball across the green because the green speeds and their touch/feel may change on a daily basis. The third segment of practice the pros will utilize will be practicing like the play. By using one ball, reading the green, going through their pre-shot routine, the pros are practicing just like they play. This is really helpful for the juniors as typically they only practice their routine in matches and competition.
Finally, I would recommend making a games to vary the practice sessions as well. Kids love games and if the games fall into the three areas above they will increase the quality of their ;practice as well. A couple examples of games: make 20 putts in a row from four to five feet, see if you get three balls from 20 feet to stop within a putter length of the hole, and go around the hole with one ball from short distance using a coin and doing the entire pre-shot routine.
Our Junior Academy Classes there will be a focus on putting mechanics as well. This will help reinforce their work as well. Getting the ball in the hole in fewer shots always makes golfers have more fun. Try these practice techniques and watch the scores fall!