The Preparation Drill

The Preparation Drill

Scott Alford

When Jordon Spieth steps into a Putt – What does he see?

“The blur of the ball’s path and that path alone burns in my mind – nothing else. My stroke is simply a reaction to make that path come alive, to come to be, with the roll of the ball.”

       Jordon Spieth (with Max Adler, Golf Digest)

Jordon Spieth also said that it takes work and preparation to “get in this mode”, a mode he calls “Blackout”.

How do we prepare to THINK THIS WAY?


The Preparation Drill

I hope you noticed what Jordon was talking about. Not only does he have his own image that burns in his mind, but it takes “work and preparation” to get in this mode.

The preparation drill will get you ready to take it to the golf course, make putts, and get your speed right. If you don’t practice the routine, then you’ll have to think about it too much, and you’re right back where you started.

You must Practice Building Your Image so when you step into a putt, for real, it just happens, without thinking about It. We’re building your pre-putt routine, complete with reading the line.

Most of all, practice not thinking and just seeing your image.

Here is my pre-putt routine, this will give you the framework to build your own.

 Build Your Pre-Putt Routine and Discover Your Image:

  • Place a Ball about 12 feet from any hole on the Putting Green.
  • Place a marker behind your ball.
  • Get behind the marker and look down the line towards the hole to get a general idea of the ARC.
  • Walk towards the hole on the low side building an image of how the ball will roll.
  • Stop at the hole and imagine where the ball will enter the hole.
  • Get behind the hole to confirm the arc of the putt.
  • Walk back and get behind your marker.
  • Find your Target Spot (High Point) that you want to stroke a straight putt to.
  • Place the Ball in Front of YOUR MARK.
  • Align the line on the ball with that of the CHOSEN SPOT ON THE GREEN.
  • Step behind the ball and look down your line and make sure the ball is pointed in the correct position for a STRAIGHT PUTT TO YOUR SPOT.
  • As you’re facing the ball from behind take a couple Feel practice strokes while you’re BUILDING THE IMAGE OF THE PATH OF THE BALL IN YOUR MIND. I like doing it with my Right Hand Only, trying to Feel it.
  • Walk into the Setup and set the Putter down first with your RIGHT (BACK) HAND ONLY.
  • Align the LINE ON THE PUTTER with the LINE ON THE BALL.
  • Settle your FEET INTO POSITION.
  • Place your LEFT (FRONT) HAND on the GRIP.
  • Look at the Hole.
  • Bring your eyes back so you’re looking a couple inches in front of the ball.
  • With the IMAGE OF THE PATH OF THE BALL firmly imprinted in your mind, STROKE THE PUTT.

It Looks Complicated

The last thing I want you to do is over-think your pre-putt routine when you’re playing golf. It’s not important to do it the exact same every time, so it doesn’t have to be memorized out of fear you might forget. Sometimes, I don’t take Feel practice strokes, I just get in and stroke the Putt. The point is, I’m not thinking about the routine, I’m allowing the Image to be built without thought.

Most Important to your simple pre-putt routine:

  1. Get the Putter aimed in the right direction before you settle your feet in to position.
  2. Build your image of the ball’s path, so that path alone burns in your mind.
  3. Roll the ball.

Don’t get discouraged with narrow misses. Your speed is good, your line is good, you just missed. I see golfers drop the putter, yell, jump up and down complaining their ball hit something, what-ever, that’s golf. Don’t let it change the way you approach your next putt. Take that positive energy, that you just struck a putt with great speed to the next tee.

This way of thinking is as important as any “tip” you’ll ever get.

Confidence is when you have hit that putt many times in the past with success, and you know you’re capable of doing it again. So, don’t worry about “bad breaks” or narrow misses, your feel is good, make the next one.

You’re a good putter because every putt you see you expect to make, it doesn’t make any difference what distance it is. You expect the putt to roll the correct distance, it’s all about Feel. Don’t allow narrow misses to destroy your Feel, it happens to all golfers, even the great ones.
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