How this training aid helped me improve my putting fundamentals

Check the length and alignment of your backswing with the Putting Stick.

OWelcome to our new series, Golfer to Golfer, where we try to learn from all types of avid players, in hopes that the rest of us can take something away from it that might improve our own games.

I knew it was time for a change when a four-foot putt was the only thing standing between me and a collegiate starting lineup. Cornell’s qualifying rounds determine the traveling team, and players are often differentiated by a single shot. I took a four-footer out on the low side—the amateur side—and stayed in Ithaca instead of heading to Princeton one spring weekend.

Late at night, I found myself rolling putts in my dorm room with little to no consistency, and my frustration was mounting.

For some reason, my putt in practice didn’t translate to competition. When I used alignment sticks for my club path or tees for my tee line, it was only effective during the drill. I would take the aids off and the pushes and pulls would come back.

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Then I found something that worked for me – and I haven’t looked back since.

To say everything changed would be a lie, but it was the first drill that continued to improve my putt even after I put it away. Iit’s called the Putting Stick, a training aid that is essentially a slightly longer measure with alignment marks and a sliding rubber piece at the end. Your ball rests in a small dimple on the stick, and the goal is to roll the ball, end to end, to the other side.

Fix the fundamentals

This simple drill brings together the components of all the other drills or putting aids I’ve tried. It helps with aiming, like alignment sticks; starting point, like doors; and adds extra functionality unlike any other exercise I’ve tried. It perfects the carry-to-call ratio – all fundamentals found in all great golf putters.

By providing immediate feedback, any shot that isn’t perfect will roll off the side of the stick and miss by an exaggerated margin. Much like putting on a mini cup, once I found a consistent hit with the training aid, putting on without it gave me a boost of confidence. Putts I thought I pushed would still play, and I feel like that halved my margin for error. I do it before every round now, and every time I practice at home. I still sometimes struggle with inconsistency, but that’s natural. My putting, overall, is in a much better place.

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