Like most golfers, your putting is probably in desperate need of improvement. The problem is that practicing your putting can be…just…so….boring. But don’t worry, because GOLF Top 100 Teacher John Dunigan is here to help with a series of fun drills and games.
Dunigan, a Top 100 Teacher since 2017, has a new book on the market: Hole it! Master Putting’s 3 Essential Skills. It’s a must-read for anybody looking to save strokes on the green, and fellow Top 100 teacher Martin Hall even featured the book on Golf Channel earlier this week.
There’s a ton of great info in the book, but the part I particularly enjoyed were the various putting games Dunigan lays out in section four. They’re fun, easy, and will almost certainly improve your putting. Here are a few of my favorites.
The Mushroom Challenge
How to play
- Find a straight putt and place three balls on the ground.
- Then, take six more balls and surround the hole in a mushroom or oval shape.
- You’ll be left with a straight putt of about five feet, two four-footers diagonally from those balls, two three footers either side of the hole, and finally two more four footers beyond the hole.
- The goal? To make all of them in a row.
It’s a great drill because it offers lots of variety and forces you to make tricky putts out of your comfort zone, all while emphasizing those straighter putts.
Random Birdies with a Fake Hole
You’ve probably done some variation of this drill before — scatter a bunch of balls around the hole and try to hole as many as possible — but the key to this game is the fake hole. After you give yourself a few eight to 20 foot putts, create a fake hole (using a tee, ball marker or anything else) in the ground and surround it with a piece of string about two feet in diameter. You’re not just trying to hit your putts into a smaller-than-usual target, you’re drilling yourself to make sure you leave yourself a tap-in in case you don’t.
Take 12 balls, starting at four feet and extending out to 15 feet in a spiral shape. You get 1 point for a made putt and -2 points for a three putt. If you want more of a challenge, you can also subtract -1 points for leaving a putt short, or for missing on the low side. The goal is simple: Finish with as many points as possible.
Surround the hole with eight different three foot putts, with four additional putts spiraling out to eight feet. Make them all consecutively, or start again. It’s a great way to drill those short putts, then simulating the pressure of those longer par-saving putts.