Practice Your Putting Drills to Tackle the Challenge of TPC Danzante Bay
A key to scoring well at TPC Danzante Bay is long putting. Whether playing the 9-hole Himalayas putting course or tackling Rees Jones’s magnificent 18-hole championship test—where many of the greens are open in front—you need to have control on putts of 20 feet and longer.
If long putting is a shortcoming, these tips and best putting drills will help improve your putting game, particularly when you get to the Islands of Loreto in Baja California, Mexico.
1. Set a realistic goal when facing a 20-, 30-, or 40-footer. You’re not trying to hole it; you’re trying to “lag” it close enough to two-putt. The first putt should finish inside 5 feet or better, leaving a fairly easy second.
2. Worry more about length, less about direction. Being a little off side to side is okay if you still finish within a couple of feet of the hole.
3. It’s not necessary to walk the entire distance to determine if the putt is mostly uphill, downhill, sidehill, or flat. Once you know the terrain, take enough practice strokes to feel comfortable.
4. Slope should only be an issue in the second half of the putt. When it leaves the putter, the ball should have enough power to handle any early break; it’s as it slows near the hole that slope will have an effect.
5. Make the same rhythmic stroke you use on a six-footer—only longer. In fact, the stroke may so long that it swings to the inside on the backstroke and follow-through; you may even need a little lower-body motion. Let it be, since trying to stop it will create tension. Concentrate on a big, but natural, stroke.
Before playing TPC Danzante Bay, use the Himalayas putting course to get ready. Pick a practice hole, stick a few tees around the cup from two to three feet away, forming a 5- to 6-foot circle. Walk off 20, 30, and 40 feet and try to roll three balls each inside the tees. Keep practicing this putting drills until all nine balls are good. Then alternate distances, go to 50 feet, jumping around until you’re comfortable and consistently making a smooth stroke.
If you have trouble relaxing on long putts, do the putting drill with your eyes closed. It really helps, so much so that you might want to close them when long putting on the course, as well.