Welcome to Play Smart, a regular GOLF.com column on game improvement that can help you play smarter, better golf.
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – Mondays during PGA Tour events are the slowest days of the week. There are few or no fans on site, and the players have the course largely to themselves. Some players don’t even bother coming to the court on Mondays, choosing to use the court as a rest day.
That was the case Monday at Riviera Country Club ahead of the Genesis Invitational. Because the course was a collegiate showcase and there was a long week ahead, attendance at the practice facilities prior to the final Signature Event was sparse. For those who did show up, there was plenty of room to operate.
These days may not be the most exciting for the average fan, but if you’re an instructional nerd, there’s plenty to learn. All you need to know is what to look for.
The putting green is an excellent place to learn something about how pros practice – and get an idea of how you can implement this into your own routine, too.
2 smart ways to practice your stroke
Sepp Straka arrived on the putting green in the shadow of Riv’s stately clubhouse shortly before lunch, and the way he started his practice routine is constructive for any golfer looking to hone their stroke.
1. Determine your line
The first thing Straka did when he stepped onto the putting green was find a short putt with minimal pause. After finding a putt he liked, he stopped and drew a straight line about a foot in front of his ball. This established the starting line and gave him an external indicator that showed whether he was hitting his starting line on each putt.
2. Create a gate
After establishing his starting line, Straka and his coach placed tees in the ground for the putterhead to swing through. With a tee on either side of his club head, Straka created a gate through which he could swing on every putt. He also placed one tee in front of the inner tee and one behind the outer tee to help him visualize the correct path for his shot.
Pros almost always start practice by performing routines with some variation of this setup. They always start by checking their starting line and then making sure their stroke is on the intended path.
The next time you go to the practice green to roll some putts, you would be wise to start this way. If your path or starting line is off, your practice time won’t be nearly as effective.
Perfect set ports
Enter your putting with our Perfect Putting Gates. With 3 different sizes you can create multiple putting exercises to improve your game. Simple removable legs to keep your gates safely in the case and use on course. Small Gate is 60mm: opening of less than 1 and 1/2 golf balls. Medium Gate is 70 mm: opening of 1 and 3/4 golf balls. Large gate is 80 mm: space for 2 golf balls