This 20-putt practice formula will improve your putting in a hurry

Welcome to Play Smart, a game-improvement column that drops every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from Game Improvement Editor Luke Kerr-Dineen to help you play smarter, better golf. 

If you’re like me, you’re probably excited to play golf this weekend. But if you’re also like me, you’re not so excited that you’ll actually plan out a proper warmup routine so you hit the course fully prepared.

We spent some time recently with GOLF Top 100 Teacher Matt Killen, whose impressive stable of students has at different times included Tiger Woods, Justin Thomas and the Korda sisters. One of his specialties is helping golfers practice in a way that they actually improve, and he has good a simple message for those of us who want to do the same: You don’t need lots of time to practice, but you do need to practice with a plan and a goal.

Which brings us to this practice routine Killen says is his favorite way to spend 10 minutes practicing your putting. You’re going to need a mirror in order to do it, but if you’re on a budget, you can sub-in some golf tees for gates and do it on a green outside. Killen prefers doing this kind of practice inside, where it’s more convenient and there are fewer variables to consider, which means you’ll need a putting mat and a set of gates.

Whatever route you go, here’s how it works. You can also watch the full video above to watch Killen himself talk about it.

1. Get your alignments

First you’re going to get set up to the golf ball — and that’s it. Step into the putt and take your setup.  Make sure your eyes are over the ball in a straight line (over the black line on the mirror), that your shoulders are parallel to it, and your putter face is perpendicular to them. Don’t hit any putts just yet, just practice getting comfortable in your setup.

2. Set up gate

Next, set up a gate (or two tees) just more than a ball’s width apart, a few inches directly in front of the ball. This will help make sure your ball is starting on the correct line.

3. Hit 20 putts

All that’s left to do his hit putts! 20 of them, or more, over the course of 10 minutes. Don’t rush, but you don’t need to do your entire routine every time, either, because this is a form of technical practice.

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Luke Kerr-Dineen Contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is the Game Improvement Editor at GOLF Magazine and In his role he oversees the brand’s game improvement content spanning instruction, equipment, health and fitness, across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms.

An alumni of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he helped them to No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue his Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University. His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.