Calibrating Your Eyes

Rob Rashell
Director of Instruction
TPC Scottsdale
Scottsdale, AZ

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I’ve always worked upside down with my golf game, being in constant pursuit of making my misses smaller and smaller. I wasn’t overly concerned with making my good shots better, I just thought if I could play bad and still hit the edges of the fairways, greens, and the edge of the hole with the putter, I’d be in good shape no matter what. Here’s something that can help make the misses with your putter a little smaller.

With this drill, you need to have three stations or sets when you practice. I’d choose a putt from 6 to 10 feet with a cup of break right to left, same on the other side, a cup of break from left to right and finally a straight putt.

Putt a coin down at each station to mark your starting point and use an aiming stick or club to lay down on your target line with the grip of the club 8 to 10 inches behind the ball pointing an imaginary straight line through the ball on your intended starting line. That imaginary line will point above the hole on the breaking putts, and straight through the hole on the straight putt. Put a coin on the ground on your imaginary target line, even with the hole. This coin, roughly one cup from the edge is the most important part of this drill, it’s telling your eyes right where you are aiming, calibration.

As you start hitting putts from the breaking station you will immediately notice how speed influences starting line. Any breaking putt should have about a 3 or 4 inch window where you can start a putt and still make it. Generally speaking, the more break you play the slower you’ll need to hit your putt, the less break you play, the harder you’ll need to hit your putt.

As you find a good speed and start to make putts, really soak in where your body is aimed and what your eyes see as the target. If you’ve been off with your alignment, it’s not unusual for the coin on your target line to look like its in the wrong spot. Trust your setup and keep rolling putts, you will get a great sense of the proper aim, and by working with putts that break both directions, you’ll start to feel every putt you hit is a straight putt and gravity just takes the ball one way or the other. When you get to that point in your practice, get used to grabbing the ball out of the hole, you’ll start making a lot of putts.