IMPROVE YOUR PUTTING
To break 80, you have to do two things when it comes to putting: make three-putts extremely infrequent and make a very high percentage from inside 5 feet. First things first: make sure your stroke and putter match one another. If you like to take the putter straight back and through, consider a face-balanced model. If you prefer to putt with a bit of an arc in your stroke, you'll be better off using a toe-weighted putter. By matching your stroke to the proper putter design, you'll make more short putts, since these are the ones most dependent on line.
\nSPEED IS KEY: Proper speed is critical for eliminating three-putts, because it's the key to good lag putting. To improve your distance control, pick a spot about 10 feet away on the practice green and try to roll a ball directly onto the spot. Once the ball comes to rest, try to roll another ball just past the first, but as close to it as you can. Don't come up shortif you do, you have to start over. Your goal is to get 10 balls into a 10-foot area, each one just a bit farther away than the previous ball.
\nWEEK 4 DRILL: PLAY A GAME
If you really want to become a better putter, you need some competition that mimics on-course pressure. My favorite is a one-on-one game called "Sinks." Find a friend and play nine holes on the putting green, with each hole a par 2. One-putts count for a point, two-putts are zero, and three-putts are negative one. Make winning this game important by letting the loser buy lunch and soon enough your lag putting, and short putting, will get a lot sharperespecially if you lose the first game or two.
\nKILL THOSE FIVE-FOOTERS
News flash: You have to make the knee-knockers if you're going to break 80, and this is where you're really going to have to do a bit of grinding. To begin, find a relatively flat putt and take 10 balls. From this length, I want you to make at least 8 out of 10, if not 9. Start putting with the goal of making 10 in a row. When you miss, start over. I assure you, the prospect of starting over will eventually sharpen your focus and make you a better short putter.
\nWEEK 4 ACTION PLAN: MAKE 80% OF YOUR FIVE-FOOTERS
1. Lock In Your Speed (30 minutes): Consistent pace is key for three-putt avoidance, which is one of the most common causes of double bogeys. Perform the Speed Drill at left for 30 minutes and chart your results.
\n2. Make 10 5-Footers (45 minutes): Take 10 balls and line them up 5 feet from a practice hole. The goal is to make all 10, and if you miss one, you have to start over. Chart your progress and see how long it takes you to make all 10. Phil Mickelson does this with 100 balls, so it's up to you to work as hard as you want.
\n3. Play 'Sinks' (45 minutes): Hone your competitive edge against your best golf buddy.
\n4. Cross-the-Line Drill (30 minutes): Continue working on your go-to drive from Week 2. You want to fade or draw 10 balls into the appropriate area of the fairway without crossing the centerline.
\n5. Pitch/Chip Drill (30 minutes): Practice your ability to get up and down with the drill from Week 3. Goal: 8 out of 10 balls within 5 feet of the cup.