Putting and chipping are very personal skills in golf. I do not think any two players think, scrutinize or execute these shots in the same way. Over the years, I have used a simple drill that helped me judge the speed of the greens before I place a club in my hand. Within in 5 minutes, I have a very good understanding on how the ball will release, whether the greens are soft or hard, and if the greens are running true. Interested? Then keep reading.
The drill I use is straight forward. I stand on the collar and underhand toss balls on the green towards a pin. I repeat this from varying locations and distances, but never more than 3 steps off the green. I know this drill is used to teach junior players and as a more experienced single digit handicapper, it has great value for me as well. Here are a few things I learn by doing this 5 minute drill:
- The firmness of the greens – I can tell by the bounce of the ball and how it releases. This piece of knowledge will help with club selection later in my round.
- Receptiveness of the greens – I put a bit of backspin on the ball to see how the greens react. This will help with my aim point and how aggressive to play my shots.
- Grip pressure on the ball – the tighter I grip the ball before the toss the harder my ball lands. I like to know if I have to use a feather touch or a more direct hit while chipping; the results of this information helps me determine if I need to loosen my grip while putting and chipping.
- Watching the roll of my ball – if I hit my target line, does my ball run true. Are the greens smooth or bumpy? I can see how does my ball react to the grain of the green and adjust accordingly.
These 4 points are valuable when preparing for a round of golf. As a member, I play the same course many times through the year and I have found that the greens change over the course of a season. Therefore, but doing my 5 minute drill once a week, I stay attuned to the course conditions and feel more confident when chipping and putting. Do you use anything like my toss drill to “get a feel” for the course conditions?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!