According to Dave Pelz, PGA Pros get up and down roughly 60% of the time when they miss a green…thats right 6 out of 10 times they save par. If you look at my last few rounds I would say I was lucky to get up and down even half that. I even had 4 putt..ugh. In fact, it is said that a 10 handicap (which I am not) gets up and down only 15% of the time. So how in the world am I ever going to break 80 if I can’t get up and down and especially if I can’t improve my putting? Answer: A home putting green!
Just as the Optishot golf simulator was the answer to my iron accuracy, the Tours Link Home Putting Green has been the answer to my short game. No longer do I four putt a green or chili dip a chip. The home putting green has changed the confidence I have in short putts, improved my chipping and helped me hit more breaking putts. In addition, It has improved the look of our backyard.
Home Putting Green
I chose the 12 x 12 version of the The Tour Links Putting Green. It comes with 19 interlocking panels and 4 holes. As you can see from the pictures above it is in kind of a kidney shape which I think looks more like a real putting green. This home putting green is really easy to put together. Just interlock the panels and screw them in. Then lay out the green turf over the top. I was worried that the turf wouldn’t lay flat but once it sat out in the sun for a day or two it flattened out.
The putting green can be placed anywhere and does not need a level surface. In fact,the green actually contours to the ground so that you can get some very good breaking putts. I decided to lay some rock around it to give it better feel and to make it look somewhat natural. It is made to withstand the outdoors and is suppose to drain well (though we have not had any rain yet).
Benefits of My Home Putting Green
Problems and Solutions
For me, my golf simulator does not replicate true putting. As I mentioned in a previous post, it is very difficult to putt using the simulator. It takes time and is hard to get the feel. Once you have the feel, it does not translate well to the real course.
In addition, when the weather is nice in the summer, I prefer to spend less time in my hot and humid garage. I want to be outside.
The Tour Links allows me to get outside in the summer months when it is too hot in my garage. I practice my short game more then ever. I have hit more putts in the last month then I did all last year. Furthermore, because the home putting surface is very fast it has prepared me for some the tougher greens in the area. I am not afraid of the fast greens.
Believe it or not, I also have an indoor putting green sitting next to my simulator. I used it for a about a month then got bored of putting the same straight putt. On the course you find very few straight putts.
One of the hardest things to do on the putting green is to make a breaking putt. Time and time again, I have left a putt on the amateur side (below) of the hole. Those that break 80 make those tough side hillers. With the tour links putting green, I can practice those difficult putts. I have improved my putting by focusing on just the side hill putt. I figured out that it is all about speed. You have to hit the ball with a little pace to make those putts. It also has helped me read putts better. I have never been good at this but now I have the ability to practice it in my own home. Breaking putts no longer really scare me.
As I mentioned above, practicing putting can be a little tedious. You have to spice it up with a little competition. You have to put pressure on yourself to improve. Putting the same straight putt did not motivate me the way to continue to practice.
This is a very simple game that I play on home putting green. The Tour Links 12 x 12 model is perfect for this game because it has 4 holes to practice on. It is wide and long enough to get some very challenging putts. With the 4 current holes I created a 9 hole course. Each hole ranges from 12 feet (longest putt you can get on this model) to 4 feet (which I believe is the most important putt to break 80).
Here are the rules to 5 Ball 54:
For each hole, you putt 5 balls.
If you make the first putt you get 2 points.
If you make any of the other putts you get 1 point.
Each hole you can score up to 6 points
The total possible score for the game is 54 (9 holes x 6 points).
It is very simple yet very challenging. To really score well you must make that first putt which is the putt that you really don’t get a read on. This adds a little pressure, especially at the end. In addition, I set it up so that I have my 4 foot putts at the end when it is most important. Keeping track your scores. The best score I have gotten so far is 27.
The 3 foot putt has given me so much trouble over the years. I have feared this putt and always hope that my playing partner would give me a gimme on these.
At the end of my practice session, I always putt ten 3-footers and ten 6-footers. I pick various spots on the green and use my putter length to get the correct distance (one putter length = about 3 feet). On most indoor putting greens, players practice the same 3 foot putt which does not translate to making them on the real course. I track these putts also and compare them to the following chart:
99% from 3 Feet
69% from 6 Feet
This drill has really helped me build confidence with my 3 foot putts because the putts are never the same. I am at only about 80% makes from 3 feel right now but I feel like I am getting better. You can also do this drill with 6 footers.
As I mentioned with putting, chipping on the golf simulator is not as realistic as I have wanted. I have really developed some bad habits. One is that I use a punch shot now as my go-to chip shot. Well, it works great with a ton of green but try to punch and run a shot over a bunker. I need to be more creative with my chipping and more tools in my kit.
As I built the home putting green, I looked for a way to incorporate chipping into the layout. As you can see from the picture, I placed a chipping mat in front of the green. This mat is excellent for working on getting my chips into the air. I found out very quickly that my punch and run shot would not work on this green. I have changed my chipping technique slightly and now can flop it onto the Tour Links green.
In addition, I stationed 3 other chipping mats around the yard so that I could practice different angles and different distances. It became my own private par 2 course. This layout again allows me to compete, which in turn makes practice that much more fun.
The Tour Links Home Putting Green has changed my short game. I now feel confident that I can hit breaking putts, 3 footers and flop shots on a real course. Because of the home putting green I feel I am one step closer to breaking 80.