Struggling with three-putts?  Here's what you should do

Struggling with three-putts? Here’s what you should do

Curing your tendency to three-putt is more straightforward than you think.

Getty Images

There’s perhaps no affliction more frustrating for golfers than three-putting.

It’s a lot of work to get yourself into position on the green, and turning a look at birdie or par into a bogey or worse is incredibly demoralizing.

Fixing your putting is a quick way to improve your overall game — not to mention your sanity. And at this week’s Top 100 Teacher Retreat at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz., I asked instructor Jeff Smith, who splits his time between Eagle Springs Golf Club in Colorado and Timbergate Golf Course in Indiana, for his advice.

“The first thing you have to do is find out out why you’re three-putting,” he said. “Is it the fact that you’re missing the shorter one, or are you not leaving yourself with a short enough first putt that really helps? Is it the first putt that’s the problem, or the second?”

Fixing the first putt

Players who struggle with the first putt may find that they frequently hit the ball too hard or too soft, leaving themselves with another potentially long comeback putt with a higher miss ratio, says Smith.

If that sounds like you, Smith says there’s a few things you can look at, including wrist and arm movement, which could be having too much of an effect on your stroke.

putting training aids

Best putting training aids of 2022: 9 devices to help you roll it pure on the greens

By:

Zephyr Melton



Smith then recommends spending time on the putting green putting at non-hole targets. It’s important to pick targets that require different distances and speeds so it’s obvious where your distance-control deficiency lies. Once you get a handle on distance control, the next step is doing it under pressure.

Smith suggests trying to land 10 putts in a row within a foot of your selected target. Once you nail that, you’ll be well on your way to banishing those three-putts for good.

Fixing the second putt

But what if your distance control is generally on point and your second putt is the one causing you grievance? Smith has a remedy for that too.

“The first thing I want to look at: Is the speed control the right amount? And then, can they start the ball online?” Smith said.

Smith suggests that if this is the case for you, the problem might be your read. Or, perhaps you aren’t aimed correctly from the get-go.

Aim and speed control are essential, especially with short putts, and once you isolate your issue, you’ll be ready to start logging fewer putts and lower scores.

Need some help honing in on your aim and alignment on the green? Check out the training tool below.

All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy a linked product, GOLF.COM may earn a fee. Pricing may vary.

Indoor Performance Pack

$99.99

Our company started in Sweden, so we know the pain of being trapped indoors for months at a time- and missing the golf course like crazy. If only there was a way to improve your fundamentals and actually get better at putting in the off-season… Surprise! Now there is. The Indoor Performance Pack is designed to help you develop and maintain the skills that you need to come out of the winter months a better player than you were before. This Pack includes our classic Putting Mirror, plus two new products designed especially for indoor golfers. Our All-Terrain Putting Gate will perfect your start line, and our Precision Putting Laser will optimize your aim to help you make more putts than ever before. Don’t let the cold weather beat your game!

buy now

View Product

Need help unriddling the greens at your home course? Pick up a custom Green Book from 8 AM Golf affiliate Golf Logix.

Jessica Marksbury

Golf.com Photographer

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Issue, which debuted in February 2018. Her original interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.

generic profile image

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *