“Drive for show, putt for dough,” is a motto known to most golfers. None of the greats—Nicklaus, Palmer, Woods, Happy Gilmore—achieved greatness until they learned that putting is the key to success. Stanford golfers have learned that lesson well, having perfected their skills on the short grass over many years.
Cardinal assistant men’s golf coach Matt Tight says, “Nine times out of 10, the shot that matters the most to win a tournament is not a drive or [an] iron, but a putt.”
Because putts matter so much, Stanford golfers spend two hours on their short games every practice to physically and mentally prepare to make the big putt. “If you consistently put yourself in a situation where you need to make a big putt,” Tight says, “once you get to that situation during a match, you will be ready for it.”
Use Stanford’s Mini Golf Challenge to work on your short game in a match-like setting.
Mini Golf Challenge
• Set up putting green with nine holes, each one having different slopes, angles and distances, ranging from five to 30 feet
• Pair golfers with similar skills in knock-outstyle tournament
• Golfers compete for lowest score
• Winners move on to face next opponent
Coaching Points: Before starting, get a feel for the green // Take your time to read the slopes and angles // Focus on each putt and keep your head down // Get creative with the prize. Example: winner gets his or her clubs cleaned or carried by the rest of the team
Benefits of the Drill: Simulates having to make a putt under pressure by competing for something // Allows extra practice at reading tricky putts