I’m not going to sugarcoat this. I am a bad putter. Ask my friends, my colleagues or my family and they’ll tell you the same thing. I think I get antsy around the greens and don’t focus nearly as much as I should.
Luckily, I met up with Danielle Kang in San Diego last summer for a putting lesson. (Imagine a better coach than the most recent winner on the LPGA Tour!) My usual routine around the greens consists of walking up to my putt, looking at the hole with confusion and just going for it — a Hail Mary putt, if you will. So I needed a full lesson on the greens. Reading, analyzing, stroke, speed, all of it. If you’re anything like me, I’m sure her tips can help you, too. Check it out in the video below.
First, Kang taught me how she reads slope. She took me behind the hole and had me check out how steep the slope was, because that’ll impact break the most. After that, we looked about a yard or so away from the hole on both sides. This part matters a lot! It’s the last break that will determine the final few rolls at the end of the putt.
By this point, I had already done much more to prepare for a putt than I ever had before. But the work wasn’t over yet. Our pro had me consider how I’ll get the ball to the last yard or so before the hole. Then, we stepped behind the putt and matched the break to my start line. We lined up my ball to the apex of the break (something I admittedly had never thought much about), and took a few practice putts while looking at the hole.
One thing that Kang made sure to highlight is the fact that you can’t try to control the speed at this point. You’ve studied the putt, and now it’s all about feel and execution. After that, Kang turned her attention to my actual putting stroke. There was a LOT of room for improvement here. I tend to accelerate through the ball instead of just letting the putterhead do its job, so she pulled out her phone to show me the metronome app that she uses to help her tempo. I was unfamiliar with this, and it has taken some practice, but putting to the beat of the metronome has really helped me smooth out my tempo. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth…
Danielle earned her sixth LPGA title on Sunday at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions, so it’s safe to say this method works. I can’t wait for my next work trip to show my pals how much I’ve improved. Try it out for yourself! And if you’re looking for more tips from Danielle, click here.