This is probably the most simple but effective drill to help improve a golf putting stroke. The ideal putting stroke would be one where the putter acts like a pendulum, swinging from the shoulders, back and forth through the golf ball.
This allows the putter to do two things that enable a golfer to hit a straight putt. The first is to swing the putter head through the golf ball in a straight line to the target. The second allows the putter face to remain ‘square’, that is pointing at the target through the putting stroke.
For the drill, use two tour sticks and place them both on the floor, lying parallel to each other, pointing towards the target, approximately four to five inches apart from each other. This gap depends a little on how wide the putter head on your putter is. The putter head must be able to sit comfortably in between the two sticks with approximately an inch wide gap either side of the putter. The sticks have now made a corridor pointing towards the hole, which will give good feedback on how the putter moves backwards and forwards through the stroke.
The things to look for here are whether the putter head is travelling in a straight line through the ball, in line with and not touching the two sticks, and whether the club face stays square on or 90 degrees to the sticks pointing at the hole, throughout the stroke.
To achieve this, there must be a strong starting position and the tour sticks can be used to help with this. Make sure that the feet are wide, just outside of shoulder width, and that the feet, shoulders, knees and hips are parallel to and in line with the sticks on the floor. This ensures that the aim is correct, with the body pointing at the hole, and that there will be no movement in the lower body during the stroke.
We can also use the two sticks to position the eyes correctly. If we are going to rock the putter in a pendulum motion, backwards and forwards, we need to use the larger muscles in the shoulders to power the movement. This can only be achieved consistently if the eyes are directly aligned over the top of the golf ball. This is fairly easy to check using the sticks on the ground. When standing over the ball in the set up position, hold the putter sideways on and let it hang from underneath the left eye. If, in the correct position, it should be possible to see that the putter is hanging directly in the middle of the sticks on the floor.
With the body set up correctly, now concentrate on swinging the putter backwards and forwards from the shoulders, down the line of the two tour sticks. Also, concentrate on the hands to ensure that the putter face is always pointing at the target, 90 degrees to the sticks. Particularly focus on the finish position of the putter face which should always finish pointing at the hole.
Using this drill really grooves the putting stroke and promotes a nice, consistent swing allowing more putts to be holed on the course.