Spring 2018

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56 SPRING 2018 | NCGA.ORG ONE-STEPPERS Holing more short putts is the quickest way t o improvement. Assistant Head Profes- sional Willie Toney made what he calls "The Putting Puck," a block of metal the size of the golf hole but with four flat sides, and when we're not too busy in the pro shop he practices "one-steppers" — because it only takes one step to rake the ball back to yourself. If you stroke the putt properly and hit the flat spot on the putting puck, the ball will rebound back to you, but if you hit an edge, it will ricochet away from you. Again, this type of practice builds confidence so that when you have that 4-foot knee-knocker for par to win the hole in your match, you've done it so many times before it becomes second nature. AROUND THE WORLD DRILL At The Olympic Club, we like to have our students play games on the putting green to create pressure and the feeling of having to make a putt. Place four tees in the ground around a hole—distance is optional but at the club we typically start a full putter's length from the hole—and try to make five in a row from each spot. You can't go to the next ball until you make it. When you make all five, you can advance to the next tee. The pro-level version of this drill: miss and start all over at square one. You can judge your putting ability by how many you make or miss. This drill practices both left to right and right to left putts, and depending on your hole location, uphill and downhill too. When you complete the drill, pick your favorite putt and see how many putts in a row you can make. See if you can beat Willie, who used to make 200 a day. "It would take me three hours," he said.

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