An easy drill to improve your tempo and start making more short putts

A golf ball in a golf hole.

A smooth stroke is crucial to draining more putts.

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Whether you are stuck inside this winter or ready to head out to your local muni, there’s always time to work on that crucial putting stroke. Making more putts — especially from that tricky six-to-eight-feet range — is crucial to a good round. That’s why I asked Trillium Rose to help.

Rose is the director of instruction at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md., just outside of Washington D.C. While at GOLF’s Top 100 Teachers Summit at Pinehurst in November, I asked for her go-to tip to help amateurs make more short putts. It’s all about tempo, she says.

Rose said her favorite drill is to get in a putting stance — with your feet about grip-length apart — and “get really good at knowing where your club is back and through” as you practice your putting stroke.

She says the key is to have your stroke start and end from the outside of one foot to the outside of the other, “creating a symmetrical-length swing, and just work on your tempo so your tempo is the same.”

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Rose said thinking of the seconds hand on a clock, with 60 ticks a minute, is a good image for people to think of as they rehearse their stroke.

“It doesn’t have to be that slow or that exact timing, but you want a consistent tempo,” Rose said. “Because when you are on the golf course, if your tempo changes quite a bit it’s really hard to control your distance.”

Do this drill inside, do it on the putting green — just do it often. The consistency and repetition will pay off.

“The length of your stroke matters, and the tempo of your stroke matters,” Rose said. “Use that as a baseline.”

Josh Berhow Editor

As’s managing editor, Berhow handles the day-to-day and long-term planning of one of the sport’s most-read news and service websites. He spends most of his days writing, editing, planning and wondering if he’ll ever break 80. Before joining in 2015, he worked at newspapers in Minnesota and Iowa. A graduate of Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minn., he resides in the Twin Cities with his wife and two kids. You can reach him at