Elements of Practice: Short Putts

#1 — Short Putts

An easy practice game for all skill levels: 3-foot circle drill

  • PGA TOUR Pros make 95% of their 3-foot putts while 20+ handicap Amateurs make 81% in play.
  • This Element of Practice requires an 8 ft. diameter circle area of constant slope with a cup (hole) in the center. The constant slope should be either at a 2% grade (slight-breaking) or at a 4% (serious-breaking) grade.

Game Set-up:

Roll several putts to a hole to first determine the “fall-line” of the slope around the cup. Then place a sticker on the green 3-feet directly above, and a sticker directly below the cup on the exact fall line. Next use a putter to create 10 more positions (for a total of 12) around the hole (see photo). Place a sticker at each of the 12 locations around the hole (in addition to the initial fall-line stickers: this will leave two stickers on the fall line positions.

“Short putts are the most common shots in Golf. Almost half of putting … is short putting.”Dave Pelz's Putting Bible.
dave pelz 3 foot circle drill

Now Putt:

Place one golf ball at or on the fall-line sticker below the hole, then position balls on all sticker positions in a counter-clockwise direction. Putt these balls in sequence, rotating to the next sticker with each putt. Five balls will fill up the cup, so remove the balls, set them aside (still moving counter-clockwise), then keep on putting. As you proceed around the circle you will see that each putt breaks a different amount.

There are two locations where the break will always be zero — straight uphill and downhill along the fall-line. Keep putting and try to make all 12 putts in a row. As you practice this drill and improve your short putting ability, you can increase the goal number of putts made without a miss gradually. You will see your short putting improve on the course because of both your newfound familiarity with how much 3-foot putts break, and your improving stroke.

“Remember, short putts sometimes break a little bit. That’s why practicing the 3′ Circle Game will help every golfer putt better.”Dave Pelz
image of dave pelz putting drill instruction


Video Instruction by Dave Pelz:

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