Most disc golfers have a routine prior to a round of disc golf. Casual or tournament rounds usually end up at the practice basket for a few minutes of putting to warm up.
It might be a dedicated basket off to the side or you wait around at a hole and squeeze in a few extra putts. As you line up your first official putt, some of that confidence starts to drop as you realize you didn’t practice any headwind or straddle putts.
Instead of using the practice basket to become a better putter, try practicing putting on the course itself using the actual drives and approach shots to setup different putting scenarios.
Why Traditional Putting Practice Doesn’t Work
As you approach the practice basket, you stop at a reasonable distance and line up your putt. This might be around 15-20 feet. A distance that you feel confident in and you go through your putting routine and drain a few putts.
You go and pick up the putters and move to the next spot, likely a similar distance away, but you notice a big cross wind. Without hesitating, you move spots so the wind is in a more favorable place. You don’t have that luxury during an actual round and now your practice has created an artificial situation.
None of this is actually preparing you for reality.
Using Real Situations
The process for this new putting practice routine remains the same from start to finish. The only thing that changes is the number of putts you look to make on each hole as you move through the three different levels.
Play each hole like you typically would. Disc selection off the teepad should be the same as you would in a real situation. If the drive lands within the 10-meter putting circle, that is where you will practice putting.
You will face tough headwind putts, uphill testers with a tailwind, tough lies where your footing isn’t the most comfortable. All of these are real situations that force you to be a better putter.
If you miss an attempt, pick up the putter, mentally review what went wrong, and reset. Begin your putting routine again and start fresh.
Level One: The Foundation
During Level One, your goal is to make two putts from the spot that your disc lands. It might take two attempts, it might take more. That’s 36 putts in as few attempts as possible.
If you can make 36 putts in 48 or fewer attempts (that allows for 12 missed putts), you should move to the next level. This is an 75% success rate.
Level Two: The Growth
For Level Two, you are looking to make three putts on each hole. This helps you be ready for those long tournament rounds and will help you refocus when you begin to tire.
If you can make 54 putts in 64 attempts (10 missed putts) for an 84% success rate, move on to Level Three.
Level Three: The Test
In order to be the best putter in disc golf, your success rate inside the circle needs to be around 90%. That is 16 made putts on 18 holes. We’re not talking drop-ins, but you need to nail that birdie attempt 16 times throughout the round.
Continue to play the round as you normally would, but now look to make five putts from wherever your shot lands within the putting circle.
This equates to 90 made putts. Easy math tells us to achieve that 90% success rate, you can only miss 10 putts on those 18 holes. Take your time and focus on each one. You can do this.
It is important to note that you must be honest with yourself during this training. If the drives gives you a tough looking putt, practice it. That is exactly what this is about. It might feel like a lot of putts, but the hard work is the only way to success.
While the tough lies are key, the easy lies are also vital to the success of this exercise. If you haven’t already, at some point you will miss what you think is an easy 5-10 foot putt. Stay focused and make the easy ones as well. Then, when you actually face that situation, it’s a cakewalk.
Don’t practice putting in easy situations. Test yourself and put yourself in a position to learn and become a better disc golfer. It’s the easiest way to see scores improve on the disc golf course.