Master this club to drop your handicap fast, says Top 100 Teacher

golfer lines up putter behind ball

The easiest way to drop your handicap fast is to master the putter, says GOLF Top 100 Teacher Eric Johnson.

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Everyone wants to shave a few strokes off their handicap. Whether you’re a scratch golfer competing for a club championship, or a 20 handicap just hoping to break 90, the quest for improvement is ever-present.

That improvement doesn’t come easy, though. While we all look for shortcuts to success, the fact of the matter is that getting better at golf takes time and effort. The only surefire method for improvement is practice and repetition. As Ben Hogan once said, “The secret is in the dirt.”

But while there are no shortcuts to improvement, there are ways to go about it in a smart and efficient manner. And one of those methods involves mastering one of the most-used clubs in the bag — the putter.

bag of golf clubs
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“Putting, to me, is how we reduce the handicap the fastest,” says GOLF Top 100 Teacher Eric Johnson. “The stroke is only 8-to-10 inches, so if you can make your all short putts, you’ll see your scores drop.”

Johnson points to the fact that many recreational players miss a handful of short putts per round, which is a score killer. If you can eliminate those mistakes on the short ones, you can bring your handicap down in a hurry.

In addition to the short putts, Johnson says that becoming a great lag putter is also key for improving your handicap. Few golfers are good enough iron players to leave themselves makable birdie looks on every hole. So, becoming a good putter from distance is crucial for eliminating three-putt bogeys.

“If we make the short putts and then become excellent lag putters, that to me is the fastest way to lower your handicap,” Johnson says.

If you can master the shortest club in the bag, you’ll have a great chance of seeing your scores improve.

Zephyr Melton Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf. He can be reached at