Instruction – The Three P’s of Putting

Instruction – The Three P’s of Putting

Well, we made it through 2020 … and what a crazy year. Thank goodness it’s in the rear-view mirror now! Cheers to 2021 and accomplishing our New Year’s resolutions together.

To help you get started on your New Year’s resolution of shooting lower scores on the golf course, let’s take a look at one of the most important parts of the game and one of the quickest ways to improve your score. I know you must be thinking, “Hit the ball 10 yards farther.” Well, that’s great, but it’s not the quickest way to lower scores. 

I’ll let you in on a secret for that later on. Anytime I have a player with a goal of shooting lower scores, I look at their putting, then move to chipping, pitching, scoring from 100 yards and in, slowly making our way to the full swing and power. Let’s get started with putting.

First, I feel it’s important to point out what percentage of your time in a round is spent putting. For a male shooting 97 and a female shooting 107, research shows 43% of your time is spent on the greens. For a scratch player, the percentage lowers to 40%. This is a huge variable. 

There are three keys that make a great putter: path, face angle and speed. Or as I and many other instructors like to say, the “3 P’s to putting.” They include: Path, which is the direction the ball travels; pace, which is the speed of your putts; and number three – and probably the most important for a high handicap golfer – is pendulum, which is the tick-tock motion of your putter. Improving your pendulum is certain to improve your face angle, path and pace.

I have demonstrated a drill I like for my students to do to improve their pendulum, along with improving their path and face angle.

Placing a golf ball between your lead wrist and putter handle will ensure you rock your shoulders back and through without using your wrist. If you lose the golf ball in the middle of your stroke, this means your hands and wrists are too involved in your stroke, thus they need to be quieter and just along for the ride. 

I place a yardstick on the ground three feet from the hole, so I can work on consistency with my path and face angle. If your face is open to your path, the golf ball will fall off the yard stick on the right side. If your club face is closed to your path, the golf ball will fall off the stick on the left side. This drill helps to ensure your club face is square to your target at impact, which results in the ball rolling down the yard stick and into the hole. This will inevitably lead to fewer putts during your round.

Kirsten Pike is the lead Teaching Professional at Las Colinas Country Club. To improve your scores follow her on Instagram at kirstenpike_golfinstruction and visit