Speed control on long putts is a key skill on the greens. And when you’re rolling it confidently, you take a lot of pressure off your second putts.
Fact: Backstroke length controls distance. If you simply change the length of your backstroke and allow the putter to “fall” toward the ball, it’ll roll the ball your intended distance. You shouldn’t need to add or subtract anything else within your stroke if you control your backstroke length.
One of my favorite practice techniques to improve this skill is to set golf balls at three-foot increments moving back from the hole.
The goal is to control the distance by learning to adjust your backstroke length. You should vary this drill by practicing uphill, downhill and then sidehill to improve your ability to adjust.
Starting with the shortest putt and taking a practice stroke prior to each putt, adjust your backstroke length on each attempt as you move farther from the hole by slightly increasing the distance you swing your putter back.
This helps you see how the stroke incrementally increases as you move farther from the hole and trains you to see how the break of the putt changes too. Perform this drill a few times a week and watch your three-putts disappear. I bet you make a few long ones too!
Kellie Stenzel is a GOLF Top 100 Teacher and is the lead instructor at the Palm Beach Par 3 and The Boca Raton in Boca Raton, Fla.