Short putts on fast greens can be a terrifying experience for a golfer.
This is because it is important to be positive when taking a short putt. However, when the greens are fast, doubt creeps into the mind of the golfer as there is a worry of what might happen if the putt misses the hole - the three to six foot putt back!
This doubt causes all sorts of problems as it is too easy to decelerate or dribble the ball up to the hole because of this 'what if' situation. If either of these things happen and we hit a negative putt we will have to deal with a poor strike of the golf ball, or poor accuracy, both of which cost shots on the green.
What can we do to handle fast greens?
The key point here is to practice. Firstly, we need to find a suitable area to practice on that is a similar speed to replicate the greens that we will putt on. If possible, use the practice green at the golf course, go out for a practice round and practice on the actual greens, or if neither of these options are possible, use a low pile carpet or even a linoleum floor at home.
Once you have found a suitable surface for practise it is time to build confidence in a stroke that can handle a fast surface. To do this, get a coin and put it three feet away from your ball. Practice putting to this coin but do not worry about where the ball stops when you hit your putt, just work on developing your stroke to roll the ball over the coin at speed. Focus on your rhythm and tempo and ensure that your back swing and forward swing are an even length. Also, have your focus on the pressure of your hands being very light on the golf club and using your shoulders rather than your wrists to power the putting swing.
Once you are confidently rolling the ball over your coin, keep the same rhythm of swing and slowly but surely lessen the length of your swing until the ball is only rolling one foot past. While you are doing this, imagine the ball hitting the back of the hole and hear the rattle of the ball in the bottom of the cup. This multi sensory practice will heighten your confidence in your putting stroke without even realizing it. Once you have finished doing this get out on to the putting green and get yourself three feet away from the hole to practice hitting the back of the hole, noting that when missed, the ball only travels one foot past.
This is a great drill to practice on greens that are very quick, to build confidence in your stroke and to hit a positive putt in difficult circumstances. Try it and hole more short putts on fast greens.