Contact, tempo key to holing long putts like Martin


Ben Martin claimed his first PGA Tour victory Sunday at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas.

Martin played his final four holes at 4-under par, including a monster eagle on the 16th hole, to finish the tournament at 20-under, two shots clear of the field.

With the tournament on the line, Martin stepped up to his 46-foot eagle putt on No. 16 and drained it to create some separation on the leaderboard.

Making a 46-foot putt is rare even for the best players in the world, as they will only make a 40-foot putt about 4 percent of the time. For the average golfer, the likelihood of making a putt of that length drops to less than 1 percent.

There are some tips, however, you can follow that will increase your chances of making those long putts.

Make solid contact. This means contacting the sweet spot of the putter with the ball. Off-center hits will not only lack speed but will most likely roll off your intended line, making it nearly impossible to drain long putts. Use the gate drill where you put two tees in the ground the width of your putter and practice making putting strokes through the tees without hitting them.

Control tempo. Not every golfer will have the same tempo in their swing, let alone their putting stroke. For example, you may prefer a longer, slower stroke, while others prefer shorter, faster strokes. Find a tempo that feels right to you and practice it with a metronome. The metronome will help you maintain the same tempo while keeping your stroke in rhythm.

Pick a line and commit. Green reading is an imperfect system, but most golfers are better at reading greens than they think. Avoid second-guessing your line by changing it at the last second. Once you pick your line, set the putter on that line and go with it. Whether you prefer to putt to a spot or can visualize the curve of the ball to the hole doesn’t matter. Just pick your line and go.

For more tips from Golf Channel to help you improve your putting, click here.