Need an effective putting practice routine? Try the clock drill

LPGA golfers on putting green

This easy drill can help you warm up quickly and effectively.

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If you’ve ever been to the practice green at a professional golf tournament, you’ve probably seen a variation of the popular “clock drill,” where a player drops balls around the hole in a circle (hence, the clock) and systematically putts them all in the hole, one by one.

But what is it that makes the clock drill so beloved, and can it work for recreational players too? Instructor Gia Liwski named the clock drill as one of her favorites for a simple reason.

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“By using a clock drill on the practice green, you can work around the hole and really gauge what’s happening on the green,” she said at GOLF’s recent Top 100 Teacher Summit in Scottsdale, Ariz. “A little bit of slope, a little bit of speed. If you keep the distances the same for all the balls, you can get a really good feel of reading greens. It’s a nice, basic visual.”

If you’ve never tried a clock drill before, a good time to start is using it as a pre-round warm-up. Liwski recommends keeping the putt length short — between three and five feet.

“It gives you something to focus on, instead of aimlessly putting,” she said. “You’re basically hitting 12 putts, so you’re not overdoing it. Work around the clock and give yourself a nice rhythm.”

Another way to use the clock drill to prepare for a round is to maintain the same circle concept, but change the distances.

“Make it two feet for one putt, 10 feet for another,” Liwski said. “Then, as you’re working around, you can start to gauge your speed, your aim, what the green is doing and how the ball is rolling.”

For more tips from Gia Liwski, click here. Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on

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