9 Tips on Using the Practice Green to Improve Your Putting

Here are some tips for getting the most out of your work on the practice putting green, whether that's a standalone practice session or on the practice green at a golf course before the start of your round.

1. Use the practice green to guage speed and work on distance control. Distance control (sometimes called speed control) should be the focus when practicing putting.

2. Hit your putts at a ball marker, not at a hole, to start with. Don't immediately try to make putts — simply roll the ball toward a ball marker you've put down about six feet away. Think about the stroke and centering the ball on the putter face.

3. Set down distance markers and alternate putting to different distances. Set ball markers, clubs or some other markers at 10-foot intervals, out to 30 feet. Alternate hitting balls to the different distances. This helps hone distance control and feel.

4. To practice long putts, hit from one side of the putting green to the other, trying to stop your ball just at the fringe. Making a 70-footer is something we're very unlikely to do, so it doesn't make sense to practice those very long putts by aiming at the cup. You'll only be missing putts.

5. Practice making putts, not missing them. What does that mean? When you are ready to putt at a hole on the practice green, start by putting from shorter distances. If you're practicing 20-footers by aiming at the cup, you're probably only hurting your confidence.

6. Also, when aiming at the hole, putt from a flat part of the practice green. Short, flat putts are the ones you have to make to get better, and making those builds confidence.

7. Visualize to stay positive. Confidence plays a huge role in putting. As you stand over putts on the practice green, visualize a trough running on your line from your putter to the hole, and imagine hearing the sound of the ball dropping into the cup.

8. Always end your practice session by making short putts. Don't walk off the green on a miss. Force yourselve to make multiple putts in a row to end the session, even if you have to putt from 6 inches to do it. In fact, a great tactic is to end your putting warmup before a round by making 25 consecutive 6-inch putts. Then take that image (and sound) of all those balls dropping into the cup to the golf course with you.

9. Use the practice green to learn a golf course's green speeds. Remember that practice greens at golf courses are supposed to be set up the same way as the greens on the golf course are. That means the practice green should be running at the same speed as the golf course greens. Get to the golf course early enough before a round to hit some putts on the practice green and learn that speed. Along those lines, we'll end with this video that teaches a technique for benchmarking your stroke to green speeds before the round begins:

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