Symptom: It is hard for you to square up the putter at impact, causing you to push or pull your putts.

Frequently muttering “pushed it” or “pulled it” under your breath as you watch the ball burn the edge of the cup yet again. Why is is so hard to get square up the putter and get that ball started on your intended line?

Description: Find a flat spot on the putting green, at a distance of about four feet from the hole. Putt five balls from the same spot and see how many you make. If you make them all, move back a few feet until you miss at least half your putts.

This is the distance where trouble starts for you on the green. Now, put down two golf tees, about five inches apart (or just far enough for your putter head to make it through), and perpendicular to the line of the putt. Putt another five balls from between these “starting gate” tees. You should find that you are making more putts in short order.

Square Up your Putter

Hideki Matsuyama starting gate tee drill square up the putter at impact push pull

Hideki Matsuyama uses the starting gate tee drill to help square up his putter at impact.

By always putting from the “starting gate” formed by the two tees, you are training yourself to do several important things:

  • The ball is always in precisely the same place. So the break is exactly the same, and this will not be a variable you need to contend with.
  • The “tee gate” forms a visual cue that encourages you to square up your putter at impact. This will result in putts that are more on your intended line.  There will be less tendency to push or pull your putts.
  • The “tee gate” also makes a physical barrier that you have to reckon with as you putt. In other words, in order to avoid hitting the tees with your putter, you will naturally swing your putter through the middle of the tees, the same way, every time. You can use the one-two stroke thought as well, with the tees as a visual cue for when to think “two”.
  • This artificial consistency you have made with the two tees will help you square up your putter at impact.  This will give you a truer roll and help you make more putts.

Have a look at Hideki Matsuyama demonstrate this drill for us:

Billy Horschel uses a variant of this drill.  In his drill, two tees are placed on the line of the putt, and the ball needs to be struck through them.  Have a look:

The starting gate tee drill is a great one to use as part of your pre-round warm up routine.  It is easy to set up and easy to do.  It will give confidence to sink those intermediate length putts during your round.

Please let us know if this drill helps you square up your putter and sink more putts! Like, Tweet, Share, +1, or Email below!

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