There’s no real rhyme or reason to the way most of us practice our putting. Get to the green, drop three golf balls, and start rolling away. Maybe strike up a conversation with someone as we do, then walk to the first tee pleased with a job well done.

But pros, they take a completely different approach. As I wrote about with Jon Rahm in the U.S. Open, pros are constantly practising their putting using different games, or drills.

Why you should play more putting games

There are a few reasons why pros are so into the idea of playing putting games:

  • It gives them a sense of competition.
  • It helps them practice their putting under pressure.
  • It’s a form of random practice, which prevents you from mindlessly practicing the same thing over and over again, which obviously is not what happens on the golf course.

Playing little games and drills does all of these things. It’s not a big change to make to your practice routine, but it’s one which you honestly might find quite fun. And better yet, it’ll improve your putting.

A few games to try…

One of my favourite drills is a ladder drill, which is pretty simple: You start with a short putt (three feet, say) and if you make that, you move backwards (to six feet, say). If you make that one, you move further and further back. That’s good for short putting, just like another short-putting drill: Surround the hole with lots of golf balls and make all of them in a row.

If you’re struggling with distance control on longer putts, Golf Digest Top 50 coach Chuck Cook showcases a common one: Setting your ball about 30 feet away, and placing a club about two feet beyond the hole. Your goal is to get three golf balls to stop past (or in) the hole and between the club.

Either way, there are lots of options out there, and whichever one you choose, you’ll be better off for it.