J.B. Holmes is known for one thing – being ridiculously long off the tee.
En route to his victory at Quail Hollow on Sunday, Holmes led the field in driving distance, averaging 334 yards.
The reason he won the tournament, however, was his work with the flatstick. Holmes had more one-putts than anyone else in the field, and he was near perfect from 5 feet and in.
Combine long drives with great putting and you have a recipe for victory.
Some of us may be limited in terms of how far we can drive the ball from the tee, but anybody of any skill level or physical ability can be a proficient putter from 5 feet and in.
Here are some tips to make sure you make the short ones:
• Narrow your focus. One problem with being closer to the hole is that you can see the cup out of the corner of your eye. If the putt breaks, you can be inclined to “guide” the ball toward the hole, knocking it off your intended line. Once you choose your line trust it. Set the putter on the line, and then focus on hitting that line. I like picking a spot just in front of the ball that is on my line and focus rolling the ball over that spot.
• Make solid contact. A solid, well-struck putt will result in a predictable roll that should stay on line and roll with consistent speed. Practice with two rubber bands wrapped around the putter head, leaving a window for the sweet spot in the center for the ball to hit. Hit the sweet spot and the ball will roll perfectly. If you miss the sweet spot you’ll hit a rubber band and immediately know it was off center.
• Keep your head down. This advice has been shared ever since people started playing the game. For the full swing it is bad advice. For putting it is good advice. By lifting your head prematurely on putts you come out of your posture and increase the difficulty of hitting the sweet spot. Really good putters will keep their head down and eyes on the ground after the ball is on its way to the hole.
For more tips from Golf Channel to help you improve your putting, click here.