When it comes to my own game, my putting has always been better than my ball striking. In part, I’ve come to realise, because I’m a relentless tinkerer on the greens.
Whereas from tee-to-green I know the general things I’m working on, and my equipment changes are less frequent — I’m hardly swapping out new iron sets each week — I’m more of a freewheeler on the greens. When things go wrong on the greens, I’m quick to try a new putter. And rather than work on the same thing with any consistency, I’m more on a constant search for Band-Aids.
But I’m working on changing that, and one of the ways is by following the lead of PGA Tour players and using a putting station. A set of basic drills I can do every day or so in shorter, 10-minute long practice sessions that will get my putting stroke in good shape — and keep it there.
One of the most enjoyable ways I’ve been doing this is using a Visio practice mat, a training aid developed by renowned putting coach Phil Kenyon and used by countless PGA Tour players.
There are different templates based on your stroke type, but the way it works is simple: You place your ball on the mad, and you use the lines (which represent face angle) as a reference point to hit your putt, as Kenyon explains.
“A lot of amateur golfers struggle with their start line,” Kenyon says. “Start line is 90 per cent face angle. Using the template helps you appreciate how the face works during the stroke. It also helps you train it. It helps you build a feel. Golfers play with feels.”
One of the popular ways Kenyon says he uses the template with his players is to stand over the putter head and film directly down. It’ll allow you to see if your putter face is more open or closed than it should be.
I’ve been pairing this template with some PuttDots, which force me to hit the sweet spot, and a putting mirror to make sure my eyes are over the ball, but what you choose to use is all a matter of preference. What matters most is that you find something that works for you, and that you can actually do consistent.