This 5-ball putting drill will make you lethal from short range

By using this 5-ball putting drill from GOLF Teacher to Watch Derek Deminsky, you can dial in your accuracy from within 5 feet

Shave strokes off your scorecard by becoming automatic from putts within 5 feet.

Images via Derek Deminsky

Welcome to Shaving Strokes, a new GOLF.com series in which we’re sharing improvements, learnings and takeaways from amateur golfers just like you — including some of the speed bumps and challenges they faced along the way.

Every golfer wants to make more putts, but they often don’t spend much time actually dialing in their stroke — and I know I’m not the only guilty party here.

A trip to the practice facility usually involves grabbing a large bucket, taking out the driver, then working on hitting a few iron shots before finishing with more bomb attempts off the tee.

But talk to any top teacher and they’ll tell you that having a more balanced (and focused) golf practice is the quickest way toward shaving strokes off your game.

A good example of this happened to me during my first round of the year (9-hole round, at least), when I hit all but one fairway but had a whopping 22 putts. For you non-math majors out there, that’s an average of 2.6 putts per hole!


It’s clear that the slice I long-battled off the tee is nearly fixed, so it’s time to work on my short game — and it should all start with maximizing as many putting drills as possible.

After the embarrassing round I recently had, I reached out to GOLF Teacher to Watch Derek Deminsky to get some putting tips, and he delivered the goods.

So in today’s Shaving Strokes lesson, Deminsky describes a 5-ball putting drill that will help you become automatic from within five feet. So go ahead and kiss those frustrating 3-putts goodbye once and for all!

How the 5-ball putting drill works

Deminsky states the obvious when he coaches up his players.

“I tell them, ‘The closer to the hole you are, the better you need to be for scoring,'” he says.

“Every golfer would love to bomb the ball like Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Dustin Johnson, but those players are elite for a reason, and it’s rare for anyone to be able to develop those types of skills.”

10 ways to hit long-distance putts with perfect precision
By: Kellie Stenzel, Top 100 Teacher

But an area where Deminsky says everyone has an even playing field is on the putting surface.

“Sure, Tiger Woods is the greatest of all-time, but this stat really shows how complete his game was; in 2005, Woods had 485 putts of five feet or less and didn’t miss a single one! His ability to score on the greens is why he was able to dominate.”

So how can the Average Joe go from missing close putts to making more from within five feet? Deminsky says trying this 5-ball putting drill is a great way to develop a repeatable stroke.

1. Find a putt with a significant slope

Start by finding a putt on your practice green that has a fairly consistent uphill slope (no side-to-side slope). I often roll balls with my hands in a bowling motion to find this.

Then, set a ball down four feet from the hole (we’ll call this 6 o’clock if you were to envision a clock around the hole). You always want to practice shorter putts to get used to routinely making them.

2. Now find the sloped putts

After placing one ball at 6 o’clock, take two balls and drop them to the left, and drop two other balls on the right.

There won’t be any side slope at 6 o’clock. But the balls you just dropped will have some sort of curve — both to the right and to the left, depending on what side you’re on.

To mimic on-course scenarios, where you’ll have a ton of “left-to-right, and right-to-left” movement, practice hitting these putts.

3. Use a repeatable routine

On each putt, go through your full tournament routine! It’s important for you to train exactly like you’d play in your highest pressure situation.

Often, students will practice so differently than they play that it doesn’t translate to the course. Don’t let that be you!

4. Draw a line on your ball

To help with your alignment, draw a line on your ball.

Not only is this a free way to line up your putt — allowing you to focus only on speed — but it provides some clues into how you may miss a putt.

For instance, did you roll the line perfectly end-over-end but still miss? Then you most likely had the wrong line and/or speed. Did you line it up and hit a wobbly putt? Then your putting stroke could be the culprit.

Think about it, if you have nine 5-foot putts a round and make them versus missing them all, that’s the difference between shooting an 84 and shooting a 75 — all without hitting the ball better off the tee or with your irons or wedges.

It’s why this drill has been a staple for both myself and for the students I teach.

Putting Stick Pro by TPK Golf ( GREEN, RED or BLUE )

Note: There are two different models of the Putting Stick. The ‘PRO’ version has the eye alignment mirror built into the stick. This makes it more portable. The original has a base plate at the far end with angled mirror.  The golf Putting Stick is a patented practice and training aid developed to help golfers of all levels improve their putting stroke. Made from the finest quality materials to exacting standards, this ingenious tool will transform both your game and attitude, forever.   The golf Putting Stick is 46 inches long, 1 inch wide, and 3/8 inches thick. It has an adjustable back-swing stop and a ball ramp for the effortless loading of a golf ball onto its surface. The golf Putting Stick will monitor and show you when your back-swing is too long, and it will show your stroke accuracy at impact to within better than one degree of perfect squareness.  
View Product
Exit mobile version