- Find an open space on the green (or the home carpet) and drop five balls.
- Stroke the first ball 10-20 feet away; don’t worry about direction.
- Try to hit the next ball a foot past the first one, the third ball a foot past the second, and so one.
- Done correctly, the balls will line up like the steps on a ladder (hence the name).
- The goal is to hit each successive ball slightly farther, so that the fifth ball is no more than five feet from the first one.
- After the first series, hit the next group a little farther. Try it on uphill, downhill and sidehill slopes as well.
Pro golfers spend hours each week honing their putting strokes; the intense practice helps them adjust to the minute green variations that crop up during a four-round tournament. The ability to add or subtract a fraction of pace can make the difference between missing the cut and walking away with a giant cardboard winner’s check.
The “ladder drill” is a staple of the pros, and it should be part of your practice routine, too. Do it regularly and you’ll develop the feel needed to hit a putt an extra foot when necessary, or to take just enough off a downhill putt to prevent the ball from racing past the cup.
The farther out you can successfully “build the ladder,” the better your touch will be.