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Sunday, October 7, 2018

Ian Baker-Finch's Favorite Putting Drill (Video)

I've been doing tips from players in this week's UL International Crown and wanted to do a putting tip from So Yeon Ryu, but all I could find was her mentioning that she worked with Ian Baker-Finch. So here's a drill from Ian...

Ian's favorite drill is one you've probably seen before. He places five balls in a line, starting at three feet from the hole and the next one three feet farther, etc., all the way out to 15 feet. (Or, as he says, you can just use the putter shaft as a rough guide.) Then he tries to make all of the balls, starting with the one closest to the hole. He repeats the drill four times -- uphill, downhill, right-to-left and left-to-right.

What caught my eye is how he practices the downhillers. I was a bit surprised that he placed a target ball PAST the hole. Since he's putting downhill, I would have expected his target to be just short of the hole so he didn't roll too far past.

But Ian is clearly afraid of leaving his downhill putts short. And to be honest, we do see the pros leave them short quite often. But I'm not certain that's a common problem for amateurs. And this is where you need to pay special attention.

This is a great drill for learning speed control. But when you try it, you need to see what your tendencies are and adjust for them.

Do you tend to hit your downhillers way past the hole? Then you should set a target ball that is roughly that amount short of the hole and see how you do when you try to stop the ball there.

Do you tend to leave your uphillers short? Then you should set a target ball that far past the hole and try to get the ball to stop there.

Drills are only useful if they help you get the results you want. Never be afraid to adjust a drill if doing it the way an instructor recommends doesn't help you improve.

Even if that instructor is Ian Baker-Finch.

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