Welcome to Play Smart, a regular GOLF.com game-improvement column that will help you play smarter, better golf.
Every golfer wants to improve their putting. No matter if you’re a professional competing for majors, or a weekend warrior just trying to break 100, the quest for fewer putts is a constant.
There are a variety of ways to go about honing your skills with the flatstick. You can get lessons from an instructor, invest in some proper training aids, or solicit some tips from your favorite golf website (I’d recommend GOLF.com). However, according to GOLF Top 100 Teacher Jeff Warne, one of the best ways to improve is by getting back to the basics.
“Go play 18 holes on the putting green and keep score,” Warne says. “Do it every single time you go to the golf course. It takes 15 or 20 minutes.”
If you’re a lifelong golfer, this is likely an exercise you did often as a kid. But as golfers get older, they stray away from the fun putting games they played as a kid. That’s not always a good idea though.
“Eighteen fresh holes of similar distances — and track that over the season,” Warne says. “Because that’s how all of us became good putters. We’d do that on the practice green as we waited for our parents to come pick us up from the course.”
Warne, a Top 100 Teacher based at The Bridge on Long Island, says he rarely sees adults compete on the practice greens using the 18-hole competition format. But for kids, it’s a staple in their routine every day out at the course. And it’s no coincidence that kids are often so proficient on the greens.
“No one does it except kids,” Warne says. “Because they have to. And they usually get pretty good at putting as a result.”
Next time you’re at the course, channel your inner child and play the games you did as a kid. They’ll make you a better putter, and you’ll have some fun at the same time, too.