Europe’s Ryder Cup captain uses this putting drill to develop his expert touch
After watching this year’s Ryder Cup, every golf fan probably realized the same thing I did: The pros are really, really good in every aspect of the game.
While every player on both Team USA and Team Europe can bomb the driver 300 yards or farther, when diving into Strokes Gained: Putting, you get a clearer idea about where the Europeans had a slight edge over the Americans.
Team Europe Ryder Cup Total: +2.82 Strokes Gained: Putting
Team USA Ryder Cup Total: -2.83 Strokes Gained: Putting
Sure, it wasn’t a massive gap, but in a tournament where every shot carries added weight, the difference between holing a birdie versus holing a par adds up.
Considering Team Europe had one of the greatest short game players ever as its captain in Luke Donald, one can probably assume that making clutch putts was an extra point of emphasis at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club.
Most amateurs will never have pro-level ball-striking ability, or ever be capable of hitting magical shots that stop on a dime. But putting is the one part of the game where amateurs can really gain a lot on the pros — and Donald explains a putting speed drill that can help grow your confidence with the flat stick.
Try this Luke Donald putting drill for masterful speed control
In the video below, Donald walks through a putting drill that can help produce better contact. So while every player tends to grab their driver and tries to swing as hard as they can at the range, by dialing in your putting stroke, you’ll have a better opportunity to score low.
Golf is full of uncontrollables, but taking control of your putting speed is one area that you can control — and Donald says it’s all about making better contact by squaring the putter’s clubface first.
Donald opens the video by stating a common misconception many amateurs have about putting speed.
“I think amateurs get a little misconception about what acceleration actually is,” says Donald. “They think that acceleration is a short backstroke and a big follow through; but that’s not really the case.
“If you want to control your speed very well, you need solid contact. Solid contact is actually almost a longer backstroke and a shorter follow through — you almost want a little bit of pop.”
Donald then says that in order to create that “pop” feeling, it starts with trying this easy drill.
Stick two tees into the ground of the putting surface, and place your ball between them. This is to help keep your putter’s face square at impact, which will give you the best opportunity for solid contact.
“The clubface isn’t going anywhere,” says Donald. “As you can see, it’s not a very long follow through.”
Donald then gives an analogy that’s easy for players to visualize: hammering a nail.
“If you’re putting a nail in with a hammer, you would give it a good smack [taking it back properly rather than just pushing it forward],” adds Donald. “The pop gives it a bit more authority, and it creates a better strike. The better strike you have, the better speed control.”