One of the easiest ways to score better (and reduce your handicap), is to have less three putts. Easier said than done you may say, but here are three games you can play by yourself or with a friend on the putting green to keep those three putts off the card.
1. Ladder game. Start by putting two tees into the ground about 1 meter apart. Take five paces and place another two tees into the ground 1 meter apart. Then each meter place another two tees until you have created 6 squares on the ground. Now go back to the first two tees and putt a ball into the first box. If you miss, get the ball back and start again. If you are successful, putt the second ball into the next box. Once again if unsuccessful, pick up both balls and start again. If you hit the target, putt to the third box and so on, until you have a ball in each box. Then reverse the process and work your way back from the far box back to the first box. If you are working with a friend, the first one to finish is the winner. If you are by yourself, try to finish in the fewest putts possible. This will really improve your distance control.
2. Putting to two circles. Start by creating a circle of tees with a 3 foot radius around two holes at least 10 paces apart on the putting green. Set some other tees at one pace intervals between the circles. Put two balls next to each tee, putt a ball to one circle, then turn around and putt the next ball to the other circle. In other words each putt in opposite directions. If you can set this game up on a slope it is better as will force you to adjust to up and down–hill putts. Take your time on each putt and line it up just like you would during a game of golf. If playing with a partner, whoever gets the most balls into the circles wins, or if playing by yourself, set your own record and try to break it.
3. This is a game I like to call frustration. It can be frustrating but a lot of fun and good for a few laughs when played with a friend! Set up 4 tees an equal distance from each other 3 feet from the hole. From next to each tee hit three putts. If you hole three putts in a row, move to the next tee. Putt three more balls. If you miss one go back to the previous tee. If you hole all three in a row, move to the next tee. Repeat until you complete one full circuit around the hole. If you do this, place four more tees into the ground a grip length further from the hole and continue in the same manner until you miss. If you miss, go back to the original starting point, and begin again. When playing this game with a friend, whoever progresses the furthest wins, or if playing by yourself, once again set a personal best and try to improve on it. If you spend some time on this game, your putting from short range will drastically improve.
As you can see from playing these three games on the putting green, your ability to hi the first putt inside 3 feet will improve, as well as your ability to hole out from that 3 foot range. Some time spent on these three games will lead to a lot less 3 putts and lower scores.
Member of PGA of Australia