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How to Make Long Golf Putts

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In golf, long putts are a test of your feel for pace. Nothing more. When you have to hit a long putt, focus on smoothness, rhythm, and timing — all the things that foster control over the distance a ball travels. Or, as Chevy Chase said in the cult golf movie Caddyshack, “Be the ball.”

One basic rule for a beginning golfer is to match the length of your golf swing to your putting stroke. So, if you have a short swing (your left arm, if you’re right-handed, doesn’t get too far up in the air on your backswing), make sure that your putting stroke is a short one, too. If your full swing is long, make sure that your putting stroke is long also. This way, you’re not contradicting yourself.

Aiming for the edge of the fringe

Here’s a way you can practice your long putting: First, don’t aim for a hole. Think about distance, not direction. Hitting a putt 10 feet short is a lot more likely than hitting it 10 feet wide, so distance is the key. Throw a bunch of balls down on the practice green and putt to the far fringe.

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See how close you can get to the edge without going over. Don't worry about where you hit the putt along the fringe, just how far the putt goes. If you practice like this, you can become really adept, to the point where you can predict at impact just how far the ball will roll.

Using the ladder drill

Here's another exercise to foster your feel for distance, called the ladder drill. Place a ball on the green about 10 feet from the green’s edge. From at least 30 feet away, try to putt another ball between the first ball and the fringe. Then, try to get a third ball between the second ball and the fringe, and so on. See how many balls you can putt before you run out of room or putting gets too difficult. Obviously, the closer you get each ball to the preceding one, the more successful you are.


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