Knowledge. I believe there are 3 elements you need to master to increase your opportunity to one putt. They are break, speed and distance control.
Break is the path in which the ball will travel from point to point depending on the green’s contour. Speed is both how fast the green itself is and how fast the line of your putt is, allowing for any uphill or downhill, etc. Finally, distance control is how hard you need to hit the putt, related to the length of your putt.
Project One Putt’s 5 colour coded hole inserts and drills will help you master the art of putting. Learn. Challenge. Perform.
Level 1 Orange and Level 2 Purple are used to gain the knowledge of how to read a green correctly by introducing the 3 elements of start line, apex point and entry point. These inserts create an instant visual key which is essential to becoming a great putter.
Level 3 Blue and Level 4 Red introduces you to performance-based practice, focusing further on entry point and speed control. Additionally, working with these inserts to build your confidence and resilience and allow you to perform on the golf course under pressure.
Speed control is a critical element to great putting. Using the fifth green insert on straight line putts will help with achieving your ideal holing speed with every putt regardless of length.
Let’s get started.
READING THE GREEN
How do I read the line of a putt? The answer is straight forward. Knowledge. Once you have the basic knowledge of how to read a green, you’ll have a much better chance of holing any putt and if it doesn’t go in, your knowledge has helped you increase the chance of your 2nd putt going in. No more 3 putts!
First and foremost, reading a green starts before you even get to your ball. When approaching any green, look at the green as a whole and identify any slopes or tiers. Greens are designed to run towards other golf course features such as bunkers, green side troughs and water hazards, so use this long-distance overview to evaluate where the pin is in relation to those slopes and tiers and then again in relation to where your ball is located. Your knowledge of what is in front of you has immediately increased. Once at your ball, take another look from behind your ball towards the pin and again from behind the hole back to your ball. You’ll be able to apply the green’s features you identified on your walk to the ball now as they directly relate to the line between your ball and the hole. Is your putt going to move right to left or left to right? (straight putts will be infrequent during your round) You should now be able to see the high side and the low side of the hole.
Next identify these 3 keys, as they will apply to the line of all putts:
- START LINE - a small target about 1-2 feet in front of the ball in which to hit your putt on its intended line.
- APEX POINT - the highest point of the putt before the green’s contour will begin to break toward the hole.
- ENTRY POINT - the point in which the ball will enter to maximise the size of the hole.
Golfers naturally miss putts on the low side. The concept of Project One Putt is based on the belief that putting is an art – it’s very visual. The inserts are designed to better focus the eye. By placing the inserts in the low side of the hole, it automatically shuts down the low side and focuses the eye to the high side. Visualising the putt is something that even professional golfers can struggle with. To become a great putter, you really need give this part of the game the respect and attention it deserves.
STARTING THE DRILLS
Level 1 Orange – one third the size of the hole.
On the practice green, find a 9-foot right to left putt with a minimum of 1 putter head movement. The drill involves 8 right to left and 8 left to right putts but start the drill with right to left break.
Working backwards from the hole:
- Determine the entry point, this will show you the high and low side.
- Place the orange insert on the low side of the hole. This automatically shuts down the low side of the hole and focuses the eye on the high side. Most putts are missed on the low side.
- Determine the apex point, this is the highest point of the putt before the green’s contour will begin to break toward the hole.
- Determine the starting line, the first 1-2 feet of the putt, aimed in the direction you want to start the putt. It will not be straight towards the hole as this will not allow for the break of the putt.
- Now you have these 3 points you can visualise the line the ball will travel from 9 feet towards the hole.
- Set up the drill by placing 8 tees 1 foot apart along the line of the putt from 2 to 9 feet. Remember the line you have visualised. Start at the entry point and work backwards from the hole along the line of the putt.
- Have a go at the first putt, at the tee 2 feet from the hole. Made it? Move back to the next tee. Missed it? Repeat from the same tee until you make it. Continue to move back to the next tee when you make a putt until you have holed all 8 putts.
Count how many putts it took to make the 8 putts. Less than 12? Well done. Repeat with the Level 1 Orange insert this time with a left to right putt.
Can you hole all 8 right to left and 8 left to right in 24 putts or less? Awesome! Move onto the Level 2 Purple insert and drill. If not, stay with the Level 1 Orange insert and repeat the drill. This is the performance aspect of the drill, continually focused on bettering our previous drill score and adjusting goals as we achieve them.
Make sure you are keeping track of your results when you practice. This not only applies to Project One Putt drills or putting practice, but to all areas of practice. Writing down your results and seeing your improvement on paper is key to growing confidence. It also acts as motivation to continue to practice smarter not harder. With increased confidence you will feel more comfortable on the green, using the knowledge you have gained with Project One Putt.
Level 2 Purple Drill – half the size of the hole.
The drill for Level 2 Purple is the same as Level 1 Orange. The insert is slightly larger, and therefore increases the challenge. This time you are covering half the hole. Again, determine the entry point and place the insert on the low side of the hole. As you have covered more of the hole this time the entry point continues to be the focus. You will be able to visualise the line by shutting down the low side of the hole. Repeat the setup of the Level 1 Orange drill again using 8 tees from 2 to 9 feet. Do right to left break and then repeat with the left to right break. The goal is the same – count how many attempts it took you to hole the 8 right to left and 8 left to right putts. Try to get under 24 attempts for the 16 putts. Its important with all these drills that you tough it out and complete the 8 putts.
Struggling with the Level 2 Purple drill? You can always move back to the Level 1 Orange insert. Evaluate where you aren’t quite getting it right – entry point? Line? Speed? Focus? Distance? Confidence? These drills are designed to test you. Evaluating where you went wrong only leads to improvement. But finishing the drill will build resilience, so make sure you follow it through to the last putt.
Feeling comfortable with Level 1 and Level 2 drills? Mix it up. Try Level 1 and Level 2 drills on putts with varying amounts of break but still putt from 2 to 9 feet. Be flexible. Create a challenge that works for you. Have fun, but always challenge yourself and finish the 8 putts.
When you are comfortable with Level 1 Orange and Level 2 Purple move on to Level 3 Blue.
Level 3 Blue Drill – focused entry point.
As you’ve progressed to Level 3 Blue insert, you have gained knowledge about the key points to focus on with every putt. Level 3 Blue insert is really going to test you further and bring the performance aspect of the drills to the forefront. The whole idea of Project One Putt is that when do the work on the practice green with these drills, the putts you face on course during your round will not seem as challenging. Confidence with what you have learnt will get you achieving. Visualise your putt going in. No more 3 putts!
Although the drills for Levels 3 and 4 are still based on 8 right to left putts and 8 left to right putts, the insert is designed to focus on the entry point further. The margin for error with these inserts is very low. Set up your 8 tees as you have done in Levels 1 and 2, then place the Level 3 Blue insert with the opening towards the entry point. Repeat the drill as you have done in Levels 1 and 2. It’s tough and it will challenge you. As always remember to finish the 8 putts on each side and keep records of your results. Don’t give in. Focus and achieve.
With the insert sitting flush to the green, you will also get instant feedback when the putts miss. This adds another element to the knowledge gained on your journey to becoming a great putter.
24 attempts or less to get all 16 putts? Great! Really challenge yourself and give Level 4 Red insert a go.
Level 4 Red Drill – focused entry point.
Well done for getting to Level 4 Red insert! The setup and concept are again the same as the previous levels - 8 right to left putts then 8 left to right putts. Always finish the 16 putts to complete the drill, accept the challenge and evaluate your errors. Try to improve your personal best. Vary the amount of break you practice with. You can now use your increased confidence and resilience on course, whether it be a social or competitive round. Record your milestones, whatever they may be, and continue to practice smarter not harder. Quality over quantity is so very true when it comes to practice.
Another drill for this Level 4 Red insert - find a straight putt, and putt at 1-foot intervals. Focus on this new challenge, the insert is only 0.5cm wider than the ball. Putt from 1 foot, pay attention to the correct speed and technique. Made it? Go back to 2 feet, etc. The aim is to see what distance you can get to before you miss, so if you miss you repeat the drill from 1 foot. Remember, this drill will assist with making sure you are hitting the ball straight on the intended line and matching it with the correct speed. It adds another aspect of pressure and intensity to your practice. As with all the drills, keep a record of your best distance and challenge yourself with each attempt – can you progress further next time?
5th insert Green Speed Drill
This bonus insert is used on straight putts to work on speed and distance control. Most players when they are under pressure will leave putts short. This is due to tightening up and decelerating through the ball. By using the 5th insert at the front of the hole, you’re effectively moving the entry point straight back and increasing the distance of the putt by half a hole. This will improve your ability to accelerate through the ball.
Find a straight putt and place the green insert directly in the front of the hole. Start at 2 feet from the hole. Are you creating the perfect speed to hit the back of the hole? Move straight back 3 feet at a time from 3, 6 and 9 feet, adjusting the speed accordingly. Focus on your natural feel and the correct acceleration through the ball. Remember to continue visualising the correct entry speed each time you move back. Be careful - this drill is not about getting the ball into the hole, the focus needs to be only on the speed that the ball enters the hole. A great putter’s ball will always enter the hole at a consistent speed, regardless of the length of the putt. It is designed to enhance your speed control.
“I believe that 18” past is the ideal speed. Having said that, I know there are a lot of things in the market now with stats and figures for absolutely everything, including holing speed. Putting to me is an art, it’s very visual. I am more of a feel putter and confidence comes from knowing that however long the putt is, my entry speed will be the same. I try to not get too hung up on textbook perfect.” Brad Kennedy, Tour Pro and Project One Putt creator.
The perfect holing speed is very individual and going to be your own speed, every player is different. Knowing your own speed is what is going to give you confidence when you stand over the putt.
We would love to hear your feedback, achievements and progress. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or post to Instagram and tag us @projectoneputt.