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I knew it was time for a change when a four foot putt was the only obstacle between me and a collegiate starting lineup. Cornell’s qualifying rounds determine the traveling squad, and players are often differentiated by a single shot. I lipped out a four-footer on the low side — the amateur side — and stayed in Ithaca instead of traveling to Princeton one Spring weekend.
Late that night, I found myself rolling putts in my dorm room with little to no consistency, and my frustration was building.
For some reason, my putting stroke in practice did not translate into competition. When I used alignment sticks for my club path or tees for my starting line, it was only effective during the drill. I would take the aids away and the pushes and pulls crept back in.
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Then, I found something that worked for me — and I haven’t looked back since.
To say that everything changed would be a lie, but it was the first drill that continued improving my putting stroke even after I put it away. It’s called the Putting Stick, a training aid that is essentially a slightly longer yardstick 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 over end, off the other side.
Fixing the fundamentals
This simple drill brings together the components of every other putting drill or aid I’ve tried. It helps with aim, like alignment sticks; starting point, like gates; and adds one more feature unlike any other drill I’ve tried. It perfects the take away to follow through ratio — all the fundamentals present in all of golf’s great putters.
By providing immediate feedback, any stroke that isn’t perfect will roll off the side of the stick and miss by an exaggerated margin. Just like putting on a mini cup, once I found a consistent stroke with the training aid, putting without it gave me a boost of confidence. Putts I thought were pushed would still lip in, and it feels as though it’s cut my margin of error in half. I do it before every round now, and whenever I’m practicing at home. I still struggle with inconsistency at times, but that’s natural. My putting, on the whole, is in a much better place.
The Faldo Series Putting Stick Golf Training Aid