This is a great putting game that will test and develop all of your putting skills – technique, touch, focus and green reading – in the short 4’ to 8’ range.
At this range you need to be sinking the vast majority of putts if you are to score well, but they’re tricky enough to warrant your full attention.
Play this game often and you’ll develop the focus and confidence needed to make sure that you don’t waste strokes with silly mistakes out on the course.
How to Play
To play the 4-8 Spiral game, do the following:
- Choose a hole on the practice green that is on a gentle slope, such that a putt played from a side hill lie would break about 6-10 inches from 8 feet.
- Mark five points on the green with tees, evenly spaced around the hole, as if they were on the points of a 5-pointed star, but increasing the distance from the hole with each point, starting at 4’, then 5’, 6’, 7’ and 8’ – see Figure 1.
- For the first hole, make the first putt (4’) directly uphill. Play each putt in turn, moving progressively further from the hole.
- Repeat on a different hole, playing another five putts with the same configuration, this time making the first putt (4’) directly downhill.
- Repeat on a third hole, this time the first putt should be directly to one side of the hole (left- or right-breaking, neither uphill nor downhill).
Figure 1. Setup for the 4-8 Spiral game.
It is important that you perform your full pre- and post-shot routine for every putt. Go through your green reading process, take your time to visualise the stroke, practise your quiet eye technique, try the right amount and react to the target. Use your post-shot routine to actively build your self-image and learn from your mistakes.
We use a 5-point spiral configuration for this game because this makes it more difficult to learn from previous putts, and so you need to consider the line and speed more carefully – and the more that you are forced to think, the quicker you you will learn.
Always record your score in your practice session log, and try to beat your best score each time you play this game. The competitive edge is crucial.
Figure 2. Putting game scoring chart.
On three holes you will play 15 putts in total. Score each putt as follows (see Figure 2) – it’s easier than it might sound, just keep track of how you are doing versus “par”:
- Holed putts count as 1 stroke (1 under par)
- Putts that roll past the hole but stop within 18” (45cm) of the hole count as par, 2 strokes.
- Putts that roll past the hole more than 18” but stop within a standard putter length (34”, 86cm) of the hole count as 3 strokes.
- Putts that don’t meet the above criteria and stop within 2 putter lengths score 4 strokes, and 2 putter lengths or more from the hole is 5 strokes.
So a par score is 30, and the best possible score is 15. Any score above par is poor, you need to work hard on your technique and green reading skills, but doing so will significantly lower your scores out on the course. A score of 18 or less is world-class putting.
The inner semicircle of 18” past the hole is the area you should always try to leave missed putts. At the speed required to leave them here, they have the best possible chance of dropping in the hole, while still enabling the putt to stay on line close to the hole. Play the putt faster than this, fast enough to reach the 3-point zone, and you increase your risk of lipping out. Faster still, 4 points or more, and you will leave yourself a testing second putt. And, for obvious reasons, leaving putts short is always costly.
If the ball lips out and comes back towards you, it counts as if it was past the hole – so within 18” scores 2. Even though, strictly speaking, the ball stopped on the short side of the hole, the pace was good.
How to Compete
This is a great game to play against a partner in match play format, and it should only take about ten minutes.
Toss a coin to determine who plays first, then both players play from the first point. Second putts are not putted out. The winner of each putt is the person who gets the lowest score. Play then moves onto the next point, where the winner of the last hole gets the honour.
This game forms part of the Golf Loopy Putt like a Champion series, the sensational new putting game improvement system that will help you to improve every aspect of your performance on the greens. The improvements will be dramatic, and they will be permanent.