Dave Pelz: This 'Cycle' Drill Arms Your Stroke for Slippery Slopes
Last month, I gave you a tour of the indoor practice facility I helped design at Blessings G.C. in Fayetteville, Ark. I promised more detail in issues to come. Well, here we are. One of the great things about the indoor greens at Blessings is that they mimic what you find on the course, including slopes as severe as four degrees. (Yep, that's a lot!) Moving your practice from flat greens to sloping ones like those at Blessings is a powerful way to learn how to hole breaking putts.
In the photo at the top of the page, I'm practicing three six-foot putts you'll typically face on a sloping green: a downhill left-to-right breaking putt, a downhill right-to-left breaker, and a straight uphiller. I'm using three of my Putting Tutors to give me feedback on putt break and starting lines. By cycling through these putts while keeping my stroke fundamentals the same on every attempt, I learn that all putts are straight putts, which then either break away from their starting lines to the hole or stay straight. Either way, I groove my putting by stroking all putts with the same mechanics (switching only start lines and speeds in the event of a miss).
At first, this kind of practice may seem a little boring. It's actually a lot of fun and a true learning experience. The trial-and-error involved in cycling through putts with various speed and break requirements while keeping stroke fundamentals the same gives you priceless feedback. It teaches you how much putts actually break and how to aim correctly. It also provides a true vision of good speed control. Your mind absorbs these mini-lessons and learns a little from each one.
When you're done with six-footers, switch distances. In the above, I've set up a variety of three-, six-, nine- and 12-foot putts. Cycle through them as in the first drill, noting the speed and starting line required for each while sticking to your stroke fundamentals. Indoors or out, structuring your practice this way will make you the boss of all breaks.
Follow Dave Pelz on Twitter @dave_pelz. Watch dozens of short-game and putting video lessons at GOLF.com/pelz and view a list of upcoming 3- and 2-day schools and 1-day clinics at pelzgolf.com.