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How To Become Become A Better Putter

Everyone knows the importance of great golf putting and the frustrations of missing those must-make putts. However, how do you become a better putter? Here is a golf putting drill that helped me turn pro. I sure hope it helps you become a great putter.

To build on an article I recently wrote called ‘Deliberate practice – The truth for golfers’,  I decided to give you my favourite ever putting drill. It sure as hell is tough, but how else would you expect to become awesome.

How to Become a better putter – The drill

So here is it. Written below is why it works so well, and how to personalise it to your own technique and ability.

How to Become a better putter – Why it works

There are two key aspects that form the foundation of learning a skill. The first one is continually repeating something that is suitably difficult. This causes your body to make the adaptations needed to become better. The second condition needed is highly accurate feedback on your outcome (where the ball finishes) and movement (what you did to hit it there). If either of these two are missing you will STOP learning and progressing.

In the video above I’m putting to a target smaller than a golf hole from 16-feet. I can tell you this is very challenging. When I was turning pro I practised this drill every morning for 20 minutes. My current record still stands at 46 hits in a row, and I’ve annoyed a lot people holing putts from everywhere for years after.

How to Become a better putter – feedback

The key factor determining where the ball’s direction is your clubface angle at impact. To hit a target from 16 feet your clubface has to be exceptionally square. To help even more the round target tells me if I had a direct hit, or the ball was going in the left or the right hand side of the hole.

This level of feedback allows me to continually refine my movement from putt to putt, always searching for a squarer clubface.

The second key to the drill is feedback on my technique.  The fact I know I am aiming directly at the target (due to the laser) allows me to hone in my alignment and the putting aid confirms I will not miss due to a swing path fault.

If you are aiming to take the putter back square-to-square (Luke Donald style) then the putting aid I have is ideal.

However, if you wish to putt with more of a curved arc (Jordan Spieth style) than a putting arc will work better for you. I’ve coached both, and the guys named above suggest you can be world number 1 with either (so no excuses).

putting arc golf training aid review

If you’re a real nerd like myself then you can grab a laser to ensure you’re aiming straight to begin with.  

Putting drill set up 

How to begin   Once you have the equipment above, or your own set-up, here is how to begin.   Place the target 5 to 10 feet away. A vinegar/sauce bottle is ideal and makes a nice ‘ping’  sound when you hit it.

Align your training aid and place a weight on it to stop it from moving too easily.   Hit 20 putts and count how many you can make out of 20. Write this down and keep a tally of your progress.  

Once you hit the golden total of 20 out of 20, move back to 2 feet and aiming for 20 out of 20 again. Or if you are short of room, just replace your target with a smaller one.  

One final benefit of this is the psychological advantage you feel as you move onto the golf course.

At my putting peak  (frequently averaging 47 – 48/50 every morning on this drill) I never felt like I was going to miss from 10-12 feet when I looked at that giant hole in front of me.


Enjoy, and let me know your progress. If you would like a weekly article like this one emailed straight to you sign up for the golf insider weekly post.

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Will Shaw, PhD, MSc, PGA Pro

Will is a PGA golf professional, with a PhD in Biomedical Science and MSc in Sports Biomechanics & Psychology. He spent 10 years lecturing part-time at Leeds Beckett University and the University of Leeds in Biomechanics and Motor Control before becoming the Head of Golf for the University of Exeter. He currently runs Golf Insider UK, Sport Science Insider around wider consulting and academic roles in sport performance and motor control.

8 thoughts on “How To Become Become A Better Putter”

  1. I want to start doing this drill but my floors are very uneven. Does this matter? I feel like if I putt perfectly straight I won’t end up in a straight line cause of the floors

    • Hi Jason,

      Apologies for the delayed reply, it’s been a busy week. Ideally you’ll have a straight floor but if you have a consistent break it isn’t the end of the world, you just need to also be aware of your pace and not beat yourself up when you miss because the pace was too firm/soft.

      I hope that helps.


  2. I cannot tell from the pictures or videos if your eyes are positioned directly over the ball at address or slightly inside the putting line. Can you clarify?

    • Hi Mathew,

      Sorry for the belated reply, I’ve been away with other work. My eyes are over the ball and sometimes drift ~2 inches inside when I am out of practice. Eye alignment doesn’t matter as much as many players think for correctly lining up putts. You can be directly over the ball or inside. The key is to be very consistent with your set-up if you want to become a great putter.

      I hope that helps.


  3. I have been reading and rereading many of your articles the last few weeks. I think your website is awesome and recently bought your practice journal. I’ve been stagnant at a 19 index for years and am looking to truly improve and your content has been inspiring. I have a question on this drill. How concerned are you about pace performing the drill? On the video it seems you are hitting the ball pretty firm.

    • Hi Mike,

      Thanks for the kind feedback – delighted it has been of use. Firm pace isn’t important. However, one of the most fun insights you can do is play around the clock putting (hitting putts from 3-6ft around a hole on a sloping green) and mix up your pace between 1) ‘your normal’, 2) harder than normal and 3) softer than usual.

      You’ll quickly learn what pace you have the most success with.

      I hope that helps.



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