Box Drill Indoors or Out

By Randy Chang

Touring pros work endlessly on distance control when putting. The 2 most important aspects of distance control are

  1. Hitting your putt consistently in the center of the putter face.
  2. Maintaining the sense of even tempo back and through and matching the distance you take the putter back with the distance you follow through.
    We have all seen the tee drill that the pros use to help with hitting solid putts. This drill not only does the same but also makes you aware and helps you focus on path and distance control.
    Get that box of your favorite golf balls you purchased recently and let us use it as a teaching aid! Start with a straight 5–6-foot putt which by tour standards is made approximately 70% of the time.
    Set 2 sleeves parallel to each other leaving anywhere from ¼ to an 1/8 of an inch from the toe and heel of your putter head (pic below). Then, set the box behind the hole approximately 2 feet.
    Practice making strokes without hitting the sides of the sleeves which will train your eyes, arms, and shoulders what a straight back and straight through path feels like and hitting the ball in the center of the putter face. Make sure your head and knees stay perfectly still with minimal wrist movement and maintaining constant pressure in your hands.
    Once you have mastered the path and center contact, pay attention to tempo and length of stroke. We want to have the sense that you match the distance you take the putter back with the distance you follow through (pic). We see players either take the putter back real short and then accelerate or push the ball to the hole or take it back long and stop or hit at the ball. Either way leads to inconsistency in distance control. You also want to pay attention on an even pace going back and through, either a short or fast pace, ala Brandt Snedeker. Or a long smooth stroke like a Ben Crenshaw and Phil Mickelson. The reality is the putter will follow through farther than you take it back due to swinging the putter head with tempo and momentum through the impact area. But you want to feel like you are matching the distance and speed of the putt with the distance and speed of your stroke!
    Find the combination of length of stroke and tempo without hitting the sleeves of balls and without hitting the box on the 30% of putts you may miss during this exercise. Move the sleeves back farther and farther to work on lag putting. The one last mechanical tip is, keep your head down and listen for the putt to drop into the hole!

PGA Director of Instruction Journey at Pechanga & Randy Chang Golf Schools

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