It’s universally accepted that the most important aspect of putting from long distance (more than 30 feet) is getting the correct speed.
But it’s not enough to have a general sense or feel for how the ball will roll. You need good rhythm to roll it the right distance.
Here are five great tips to help you stroke long putts with a pure, smooth rhythm:
- Stand wider and more upright: The longer the putt, the longer your stroke will be, so it’s crucial that your body remain stable while the arms swing freely. Assuming a slightly wider stance than normal – with the feet about shoulder-width apart – helps with the first objective. Standing a little more upright, with less bend at the waist, allows the arms to swing with less inhibition.
- Make a longer, slower stroke: There are two ways to hit a putt harder or farther: 1) By keeping your stroke the same length and adding a little power, or 2) By lengthening your motion. On long putts, the second method is recommended. Again, the goal is a smooth, rhythmic motion. Keep your hands and arms relaxed at address and allow the wrists to hinge a little during the stroke.
- Practice putting to the fringe: On the practice green, drop several balls about 30 feet from the fringe, then try to putt each one as close to the fringe as possible without hitting it. Move back to 40 feet and repeat. This drill emphasizes speed over line and will improve your feel for distance control.
- The “ladder drill”: A classic practice routine. Place a golf ball 10 feet from the fringe, then drop several balls 30 feet from the fringe. From 30 feet, try to roll your first attempt between the object ball and the fringe. Try to putt the next ball between your previous effort and the fringe. With each successful attempt, it becomes more difficult to squeeze your putt into the space between the last ball and the green’s edge.
- “Finger roll” drill: Leave your putter in the bag for the first part of this one. Facing the hole from about 10 feet away, hold a ball between the thumb, index and middle fingers of your dominant hand. Roll the ball underhanded toward the cup; the goal is to have it topple softly into the hole. Try several repetitions until you’ve got the hang of it, then grab your putter and hit a series of putts from the same spot, with the same intention. That new sensation is enhanced feel in your hands.