Putting exercise: The Clock Drill


How many times have we heard that it is much more important to practice putting than to get longer with our iron or wood shots. Every coach keeps telling you that you have to train your short game more. But why are short game and especially putting so important?


The green is the place where you actually make your score. Here you can make up for a lot of bad shots, but also screw up an otherwise very well played hole.


Imagine you are playing a par 4. Unfortunately, your drive goes too far to the right. Instead of an easy pitch onto the green, you now have to master another iron shot and, in addition, you have to play over a group of trees to make it onto the green. Your shot goes exactly in the direction of the pin, but it is a little too short. Your chip onto the green is fine, but now you still have a 1.5 meter putt to master. You could now save a par with a good putt despite your two previous bad shots. But if you don't make the putt from this distance, you may even do a 3-putt. Then it would have taken the same amount of strokes for a distance of 1.5 meters as for the remaining 280 meters.


How you putt determines what you ultimately have to write on your scorecard.


In order to make the putting training more interesting and effective, there are some exercises that we want to introduce to you in this and the next blogs.



The first exercise is called "The Clock Drill".


It is designed to make you more secure and consistent with the short putts, and at the same time to help you read breaks correctly and adapt to them correctly. Short putts in particular can often become a question of nerves during a golf round. The exercise is very useful for understand the pressure of short putts on the course.


This is how the exercise works:

  1. Measure a putter length from the hole and put a tee in the green.

  2. Then move around the hole and do that with three to eleven other tees. You should choose a hole that is on a light slope so that you don't just practice even putts, but also breaks.

  3. Then you can do the same with a distance of two putter lengths.

  4. Putt one ball from each tee from the short distance until you have made all the putts. If a putt doesn’t go in the hole, start over again. If you have made all putts without mistakes, repeat the same exercise from a distance of two putter lengths.

  5. Practice the Clock Drill many times to become more consistent and secure with short putts and to increase your accuracy on breaks.


For beginners, we recommend starting with four balls from each distance. After a few successful practice rounds with four balls, you can increase the number.


With this exercise, you will become more secure at short putts by simulating a “competition situation” during training. If you know that you are able to make all putts from a distance of one meter, or even two meters, you will no longer be afraid of not making the putt on the round.


This exercise can also be fun for two people by starting from opposite tees and then taking turns at putting. If you make the putt, you can move ahead to the tee in front of you. If the putt doesn’t go in, you have to stay at your tee. The game is about catching up to your training partner and getting to the same tee as your partner. This game is called "cat and mouse" and is particularly popular with children and teenagers.


We wish you lots of fun and success at practicing!


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