Golf Putting Drill: Use the Surround the Cup Putting Drill to Master the Short Breaking Putt

Symptom: Missed short putts when there's a little bit of break, with the cup cut into a slight hill.  You often mutter things like, "I thought it would break more" or "where did all that break come from" or "maybe I pushed it" or "get there" or "slow down" or perhaps less printable things...

Overview: On the putting green, pick a cup on a slight hill, and surround it with several balls in a circle. Start just a foot or two away from the cup and gradually work to wider and wider circles. Read and sink each putt as you circle the cup.

Phil Mickelson shows us how it's done (thanks Phil):
 

Why it works: Even though we know logically that downhill putts are faster and have more break, and uphill putts are slower and have less break, it is something you must experience firsthand to really internalize.  This drill is a great way to prove it to yourself so you can execute better on the course.  By keeping the length of the putt constant but varying the amount of break you need to play, you will get a better feel for how to read and execute short breaking putts. Gradually your short putting and your confidence will improve.  You will find that your performance on this drill improves when your misses on are on the high side of the hole, and end up about 18 inches past the hole.

Jim Furyk knows the power of this drill too.  He has a slight variation on the drill -- his caddie puts the ball about two inches from a tee as he circles the hole, making the putts.  This placement combines some aspects of the starting gate tee drill with the surround the cup drill.  Have a look:


Another benefit of this drill is that you will improve your ability to read the putts of your playing partners, and apply this learning to your putt!  So, for example, if your buddy has a similar length putt from the other side of the hole, you will know how your putt is likely to roll based on his putt, because you've already hit both putts in the Surround the Cup Putting Drill on the practice green!

Did you like this drill?  Think you can emulate Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk on the practice green next time out?  Bookmark, Tweet it, Like it, email it -- spread the word!  And don't miss the next one--sign up for free updates too! 

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May all your putts roll true -- GolfTipEditor

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