2 Great Putting Drills For Distance Control

If you want to be a great putter, you must have great speed control. Simply, it makes no sense to practice only aim, when the speed your ball rolls is the main factor determining line. So here are two great drills to help develop your speed control on the greens. And with proper speed control, finding your line will be a breeze.

The verbage I’ll use for this post will be for a right handed golfer. If you’re a lefty, just reverse the information. It’s nothing personal southpaws – promise.

Drill #1 — Right Hand Middle

The right hand middle drill is a wonderful way to achieve distance control on long lag putts. Because your right hand and fingers play such an important role in how you feel distance, this drill is a great way to develop touch.

How to perform this drill: Take ten balls and place them in the middle of the green. Mark the spot from where you’re putting with a tee. Take a comfortable stance and grip the putter with your right hand only. From there, putt the first ball with just your right hand at a spot on the fringe of the green. Your goal is to get the ball to stop as close to the fringe, without actually touching it, as you can. Take the second ball and, using the same technique, putt to a spot about five yards right of your first ball. Again, you want it as close as possible to the fringe without touching it. Continue this all the way around the green until your last ball has been putted. When you’re done putting the balls to the fringe, walk to your golf balls and putt them back to the tee. Make sure you’re still using just your right hand. One lap around the green with ten balls is considered a set. Do a couple sets a week when practicing.

**Application tips — Use your eyes. Focus on the fringe and let your eyes determine how hard to hit the ball. Also, feel your entire arm swinging — not just your hand and wrist.

Drill #2 — Right Hand Row

The right hand row drill is a wonderful way to develop touch, as well as visualizing the putting line. Again, obtaining feel in your right hand and fingers will give you the ability to judge distances from all over the green.

How to perform this drill: Set ten balls in a row beginning five feet from the hole. Each ball should be three feet away from the previous ball. When you are finished setting the balls, the first will be three feet away from the cup and the tenth will be thirty feet away. Then, put a tee in the ground 18 inches on the other side of the cup. To start the exercise, set up comfortably to the first ball. Grip the putter with your right hand only and stroke the ball toward the cup. Your only thought should be to knock it in with the correct speed. The ball should not go further than eighteen inches past (the tee is your guide) the hole on a missed putt. After you’ve stroked the first putt, go back to the next ball in line and start the process over. Continue this procedure until all balls are putted. No matter what ball you’re putting, from three feet to thirty, it should travel at the same speed at the hole. They should either go in or get past the hole — but not past the tee. So, we want all balls in that 18 inch zone past the hole if not holed. This is optimum speed. Ten balls make a set. Strive to do 5 sets a week when practicing.

**Application tips — Again, use your eyes. Before hitting each putt, take two (right handed only) practice swings while looking at the hole. Feel your entire arm – not just your hand and wrist.

Good Luck and Good Putting!

40 Responses to “2 Great Putting Drills For Distance Control”

  1. Hassan says:

    Andy. As I’ve told you earlier, despite of not completing going all the package / printed copy of your new four magic moves I’ve already broken the 100 strokes jinx. I am feeling very good abt it and now now my friends are saying “wow you hv improved by leaps bounce..” Also the putting is working too but when I changed to the heavier putter it didn’t work as good as before (lighter one). Hassan/ Hassan/ Malaysia.

  2. steve says:

    Andy, this year I have started putting with my left hand below my right hand and it seems to be working better for me than the normal way of right hand at the bottom and left hand at the top. Would the putting drills you mention still be the same?
    Thought you might be interested to know that I had my first round of golf yesterday, we are early this year by about two weeks.


    LOVE these tips! Have really helped to drop my stroke scores with previous ones… NOW for the putting!

  4. Bob says:

    Andy, still haven’ heard any tips about the long putter? Im not talking about the belly putter, i mean the putter of 54inches tall, how about it?

  5. John says:

    I have to disagree.
    Right handed players should not putt with their right hand.

    I putt with my left hand with the back of the hand towards the hole using the spacing of my stance (1/4 – 1/2 – 3/4 – full) as a ratio of distance to the hole (2ft-4ft-6ft-8ft) for weight of putt.

    For “Right” players the right hand and arm have little overall influence in the game- you clip it on to your left hand to employ it for balance and stability – it would make any shot difficult if you put it in your pocket – the right hand mainly comes into play with bunker shots to stop the club spinning in your hands when you bang the ball out

  6. Peter Norton says:

    I believe John Daly uses the one handed technique for chipping also!

  7. tony says:

    Terrific drill. Will practice once the snow goes away. Keep them tips coming.


  8. Moorosi says:

    hi Andy – how about some tips on distance and direction control out of green side bunkers?

  9. Leon Berkowitz says:

    I have a great tip for someone with the yips, Sylvia take note!!!!!
    Line up your putt paralell to your target, hand’s underneath your shoulder’s and putt whilst looking at the hole. Your central nervous system will take care of everything. Think about it take a rolled up piece of paper and lob it at a rubbish bin, or throw a basket ball at a hoop, do you look at the ball or the hoop while you throw? Trust it after a bit of getting used to this concept you will improve your putting 1000%!! On three footer’s look at a spot or a blade of grass just in front of the hole and putt whilst looking at the hole!! Johnny Millar used to do this exercise often!!
    Good Luck

  10. Reg Shanhan says:

    Hi Andy great Tips. I normally do not have problems Putting, Used to have Yips on short Putts But now when I have those shorties I place my Putter down in front of Ball , check face square to line I have to Putt at then Place putter behind Ball and Putt. It works every Time. Maybe it a thing to say to myself yes I am in Line now putt thru the line. The folk who are having Yipps might like to try it
    Good Golfing

  11. bob says:

    hey andy, how about some tips for the longer style putters

  12. Wayne , Texas says:

    I just finished doing these drills. Highly recommend them, makes you want to get the ball to the hole with the tee back their. Take the two practice swings you get a great feel for the distance. Great tip.

  13. Eric says:

    Great. I shall try this today. Am off to the course.

  14. Sean says:

    These two drills sound great! I live in the Northeast and can’t actually try them out for another couple of months, but then I will. I’m a great believer in intelligent use of practice time. I already like to do some putting drills where I close my eyes and rely on touch to get the ball to the fringe and at a target. As a result, I consider myself a good putter. I can read greens well, and I enjoy putting. This spring, putting is going to be a big part of my goal of breaking 80 consistently. I get your emails all the time, and I follow them religiously. If you’re going to try to be a good golfer, you need all the help you can get! And you’re one of my Go-To guys. That puts you in the same company as Hogan, Don Trahan, Bobby Eldridge, Shawn Clement, and many others, not even counting all the great videos on YouTube.

    The first time I break 80 this spring, you’re one of the people I’m going to thank the most!

  15. Sean says:

    I just started reading at the top and stopped at
    “The verbage I’ll use for this post will be for a right handed golfer.” The word you want is “verbage.” You just reminded me how people used this all the time at a company I used to work for. It has since gone bankrupt. Probably not because of this error. But I always thought that these people slept through their middle school English classes.

    Now I can go ahead and find out how to be a better putter!

  16. Gaudencio says:

    This seems to be a very good tip on putting. l have not seen these before. l certainly will try and l will let you know. Thanks.

  17. Colin Piper says:

    In an ideal world the suggestions would be fine. But what would all the other members on the practice green be expected to do while I am manopolising the green?

  18. Derek Smith says:

    In regard to the ‘Application Tip’, I use a similar system. Keeping the left arm straight, I use the ‘Pendulum’ method and on my practice swing, my eyes follow the putter. When my left eye has the hole in vision, then this determines the length of the follow through for the actual Putt. This works whether it is an ‘uphill’, ‘downhill’ or ‘level’ Putt.

  19. Majid says:

    I haven’t tried this before, but what I usually do before putting, to get the feel of the distance is by visualising myself bowling a golf ball towards the hole and that helps me judge how hard for me to putt to the hole and maintaining the line. Next time I’ll try drilling using your tip. Thank you

  20. Fathi Alkhadra says:

    Dear Ralph, I have been playing Golf since 1973, and my lawest h/cap i had 6. I went to a Golf shop and spoke to a pro, his first question was, what is the most important thing in the game of Golf, I said the drive so you can get closer to the target, he said no, putting, can save you lots of strokes, i agreed. When i went to philipen,i learned from a pro, how to put,he told me, use the right hand as the power, like throwing the ball to the hole with your right hand and (the left hand takes position leeds you to the target to the hole), which you never mentioned the left hand job.

  21. Ed - Renton says:

    What I am about to say may seem strang to some. I am such a good golfer that I do not even keep score. I go to a lot of cources with my friends and like the game. Every once in a while I have a good hole. THIS IS FACT I hold two cource records. One is up in Canada in Terfino on Vancover Island I Lost 34 balls in 18 holes. The next record was up in Whistler where I hit 5 sand traps in one hole. I go to have a good time and enjoy friends, seanery, exercise, and the food at the end. In the past I used to get mad at myself and the game,but now I just go along for the ride. ED

  22. Emil Konzman says:

    I have never received such up to date knowledge about golf as I have

    received from you. I did not try out your putting instructions as of yet

    But that will be the first thing I will do when I go to to golf course.

    Keep up the excellent work that you do for all of us;


  23. david waters says:

    Another set of good tips. I did notice how the pro’s always take a short liftback with the putter, then tap. Now I see why

  24. Ron says:

    Hi Andy,

    Great tips as usual. Keep them coming. God knows I need them.


  25. penny joyce says:

    Thanks for your tips – they are a great help. Re: the putting – I am left handed but play right handed. Should I still practice with only the right hand as I think my left hand is the more sensitive.

  26. Sylvia says:

    Hi Andy

    Enjoyed your 20 questions and answeres on the rules of golf.

    Unfortunately I have the putting yips. I’ve had them for several years but was able to control them by using a broomstick putter, however this does not work for me anymore. Unlike most people with the yips I have no problem with short puts but anything over 4 metres I find I am unable to take the club back without hitting the ground and even have windy putts.

    I love playing golf but I am reaching a stage where I will be forced to give it up.

    Have you any suggestions.



  27. Andy Brown says:

    Hi Ralph,

    I definitely keep my head down for a couple of seconds as I strike the ball whilst putting. My final actions are not to look at the cup.



  28. Ralph Bramble says:

    I really appreciate your golf tips, Andy! I have one simple question, which should be easy for you. When putting, what is the LAST thing you look at; the ball or the cup?
    Many Thanks!

  29. ananth says:

    Hi Andy,
    The puttings have helped me greatly. They are not erratic as they used to be.
    Thanks a lot.

  30. John Matthews says:

    Hi Andy I tried John Richardsons Left Hand only putting tip got from John Daly dvd, it changed my putting action completely.I now lag putts from 50/60ft to 18ins maybe 1handed drill is secret whichever hand is used. Regards John Matthews

  31. Shawn says:

    the best tip i ever got was to act like your throwing the ball to the target. Two putt every time

  32. tony murray says:

    thanks andy your tips,i have taken 2 shots of my handicap (9-7)and my game has come on a lot.

  33. Ted Exley says:

    I find that it’s a ‘confidence thing’. For anything under 12 feet I aim at the cup, trying very hard to get the speed that will stop the ball 12 inches past the hole. For longer putts I imagine a two foot circle around the hole and try to stop the ball inside that circle. It works more often than not, especially on very long puts and I have made great improvements this season….
    Thanks for all the tips.

    I also tried the Worst Ball Round and found it VERY hard to do. If I had the time to practice this once a week I am sure that it would bring a quick improvement to my Tee to Green game.

    I think that it is true to say that since April, 2007, when I bought your program, I have not only made myself a much better player, but I have enjoyed the game more.

    Last Tuesday I played in a society round and I had a net 63…… off my normal handicap this would have been good for 43 points, but, off my society handicap I scored 48 points, that’s right. 22 out and 26 in.

    I was almost embarrased !!! I played with a single figure man who was outdriving me by 50 yards, but I hit more greens than him and I chipped and putted better, which is how I did all the scoring.

    I would advise any high handicapper using your fantastic system to concentrate on the irons from 5 up and earn how to hit straight shots to the greens. It is the great leveller and improves scores quickest. Forget the long drives, not everyone can achieve it, but you can get much better from 150 yards in and that’s where it counts most !! What a super feeling when you look up to see the ball heading straight for the flag!!!

    Learn how to chip with a 6 or 8 iron from just off the fringe. You get 25% to 30% air time and then a lovely roll to the hole….Forget the wedge from around the greens, it is TOO difficult for normal golfers to do. Sometimes the wedge does achieve great shots BUT sometimes it does not, (for no obvious reason) and that is unacceptable. Use the 6 or 8 iron, as dictated by the situation and watch those scores drop. It is a real winner. I have actually holed several similar shots this year.

  34. chen says:

    I’m amazed at the result with the tips you just have imparted to the millions of golfer. I adapted the tips and was just amazed at the speed and control that i have just 2 days ago. my putter has been on and off for some time. in some days, I’ll put maybe 27-29 but on off days. 3-putt is also very common. 2 days ago, I putted 25 with only a single 3 putt. guess what, the score 80 with one out of bound. thanks again:razz:

  35. Carolyn Stent says:

    Great tips Andy, will give it a go “today” and see if it improves my putting, i am sure it will. I will let you know. It is good to have tips given in small doses online like this – they are easier to deal with that a lot of information at one time. Keep it up.

  36. Gerald says:

    I have a major problem on reading the lines on a putting green. Firstly does the direction in which the grass has been cut effect the final direction of your putt and secondly if it does how much movement can you expect?

  37. Hassanali says:

    Hi Andy,

    Yes I have already started this lesson at the putting green and it is working out fine with me. I hope to get good results after a week or two on the course.

    Thanks Andy.

  38. Wayne Haskins says:

    Andy, I appreciate all the tips you send. You seem to be more concerned with a players improvement than most. I don’t get a whole lot of time to practice, but the tips you provide do help a lot. Thanks

  39. Tom Sandeman says:

    I use the left hand below the right in putting. Should I use the left hand in this drill rather than the right?
    I also find that if I am having a bad day on the putting green I change to looking at the hole (on a straight putt). Moe Norman used to do that although he wasn’t known for putting – mainly his accuracy from tee to green. It helps me to get the distance right and if you focus on the apex of a breaking putt that helps too.

  40. david ross says:

    More good stuff, will give it a try as soon as possible. Keep up the good work Andy it all helps!

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