Read Greens to a Tee with a Tee Peg Gate

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One of the best drills to improve your green reading is the Tee Peg Gate Putting Drill. Director of Instruction at the TruGolf Academy Jon Watts talks you through this fantastic putting exercise to improve your green reading, starting your putt online and controlling the pace of your putt. While it's fairly common for great putters to practice using gates, this is more commonly only applied to the point of impact to ensure a square putter face. A geeky stat is that 83 percent of the ball direction is due to where the club face points at impact. This lets us know just how important getting the club face to be square to our intended aim line is in putting). 

But using gates can also be highly effective as a green reading and pace monitoring tool. By setting up a tee peg gate on the aim line, you can really monitor the influence of your pace on the break of the putt by watching where the ball passes through the gate. This allows you to make your practice - purposeful and repeatable.

Tee Peg Gate Green Reading Drill

I've set up a 15-foot putt with around 8 to 10 inches of break outside the left side of the hole. I've put a tee peg into the ground around eight to ten inches to the outside of the left lip of the cup, which is where I think this ball is going to break from. On route to that tee peg, I've made a little gate with another two tee pegs. This gate is one-and-a-half clubheads width apart and the gate is about three to four feet in front of my starting position. My aim is to try and get the ball to go between the tee peg gates. We're focusing on squaring the club face to get it through our tee peg gate.  If I can get the ball through the middle of the tee peg gate, it should be rolling on my intended aim line. If I've read this putt correctly, the only thing I have to regulate is my pace.

The better you get at this drill and reading greens, you can either move the tee peg gate further away to make it harder or make the gate a little bit narrower. So, one putter width instead of one and a half.

Read the Break

The next thing we get from this drill is feedback on whether we are allowing for enough break or not. Most amateur golfers under read putts by two to three times the amount needed. Many amateur golfers know it's a left-to-right putt, but they are allowing for 2 inches of break when they should be allowing for 10 inches. They're allowing for some break, just nowhere near the amount they should be. 

The Amount of Break in Your Putt is Influenced by the Pace of Your Putt

We also need to be aware, that the amount of break also depends on the pace of the golf ball. The longer the ball is in contact with the grass more friction is applied, and more friction equals more break. So, if I hit the ball at a slower pace, I have to allow for a bit more break. You can try different speeds for you putt, navigating to the sides of the tee peg gate. You can try and go nearer the inside edge and then nearer the right edge. Hit your shot with more pace and see if it holds its line? You will quickly see that the pace of the putt definitely affects the amount that ball is going to break. Remember, if the putt misses the hole, you want the ball to stop between a foot or two past the hole. 

Good Setup will Equal Consistent Results

As you practice the tee peg green reading drill make sure that you are paying attention close attention to using a good address position, especially getting your eyes directly over the ball. Take a comfortable putting stance that places the golf ball directly below your eyes. This can be tested by placing a golf ball against your forehead, then just gently releasing the ball to the ground. If you are aligned properly, the ball will land directly on top of the ball on the ground.

Even, Steady, Upward Stroke Directly in the Sweet Spot

Ideally, you want your putter face to be striking the golf ball slightly on the upstroke. This will create a little topspin and a better roll. To ensure that you are consistently stroking your putts into the sweet spot of the putter, place tees in the ground that are just a fraction wider than the width of the putter blade. The tees provide instant feedback.  These tees form an alley for putter blade to pass between.  When your stroke it steady and even, the putter blade will pass between to the tee pegs cleanly with no contact. 

Improved Putting is the Fastest Way to Lower Your Golf Scores

Putting represents between 40% to 60% of the score of most golfers. However, if you visit just about any practice facility, the driving range will be full, but the practice greens will usually be empty. The statistic above lets us know that this should be reversed. 

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