Start sinking more short putts by trying this helpful eliminator drill

Welcome to Shaving Strokes, a new 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.

Sure, most amateurs struggle with inconsistent tee shots, approach shots, and their pitching around the green, but one place where you can instantly shave strokes off your game? The putting surface.

As I’ve mentioned more than a few times, a strong putting touch can be the great equalizer, allowing a player to save par rather than scrambling each hole and making bogey or worse.

But dialing in your stroke is easier said than done — especially from anywhere within six feet in.

While pros make a whopping 99% of their putts from three feet or less, amateurs often struggle mightily. There are a few different putting practice games that can help you improve, but until you spend hours working on your stroke, you’ll never truly master the short game.

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That’s where new GOLF Top 100 Teacher Sarah Stone comes in.

In the video above, Stone works with GOLF’s Claire Rogers on a fun putting drill simply known as the “Eliminator”.

Instead of just guessing on what areas of the short game you need help with, this drill helps eliminate different scenarios you might come across during a round.

So say you’re a pro at gauging distance control from 10 feet or longer, but can’t make a three-footer to save your scorecard. The eliminator drill will identify the former as a strength, and the latter as a weakness — so you can be efficient with your putting practice.

“Eight-feet and in is what we would call ‘scoring distance,'” says Stone. “One of the biggest things that people struggle in with this is [finding] what part of the skill are you not doing well.

“This drill will help give a good idea about what skill we need to dive into and work on a little more.”

How the eliminator putting drill works

After describing the background and the purpose of the eliminator drill, Stone next explains how it actually works.

First, you’re going to take the flagstick (which is typically about eight feet long), and you’re going to lay it down on the ground to help get your distance to the hole.

Now that you’ve got your measurement to the hole, Stone says it’s time to read the green and go through your pre-shot routine.

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“I want you to read the green, and go on the line somewhere and put [a ball-marker] down to where the ball might need to run over it to go in the hole,” adds Stone.

As the Top 100 Teacher watches Rogers miss the putt right of the hole and long, she identifies some issues in her short game.

“I would say that your green-reading was a little off, and your speed control was slightly off,” says Stone. “On 8-footers, I like to see the ball slowing down at the hole.”

Although Rogers missed her putt, Stone says this is the whole purpose of using the eliminator drill — to determine which areas you most need work in.

“What you’re starting to do is figure out where you are lacking in your putting,” she adds. “Is it that you don’t know how to read a green? Then maybe we need to go talk about how to read greens.”

“This is a great way to figure it out before you need to go see your putting stroke again.”

So head on over to the putting green and try Stone’s eliminator drill for yourself. By doing so, you’ll be able to zero in on your biggest areas of weakness, and, with more emphasis on each, slowly start to see better results on the greens.

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Nick Dimengo Editor