Improve Your Putting With This Game: A Variant to 7-Up

All golfers, no matter what your skill level, want to make more putts. Whenever my friend Decarlo and I have a practice session, we’d usually spend out practice putting working on stroke mechanics, followed by a game of 18-holes of stroke-play, usually consisting of putts from 15-30 feet in length. While fun, and somewhat effective, the contest also had some leaks. For example, how often do most people have putts of this length? If you miss a lot of greens, you’re most likely going to have putts inside 15 feet. Also, even if you hit a lot of greens, your 30-footers are going to be lag putts, and even Tour pros make these roughly 3-5% of the time.

One day, during a normal practice session, we thought of another way  to increase the productivity of our practice putting, while making it a fun game which you can make wagers on.

Here are the rules:

Choose putts from the 6-12 foot range

If you make the putt, it’s one point;

If you miss the putt long, it’s zero points;

If you miss the putt short, it’s -1;

If you three putt, it’s -2;

And, if you miss a putt short and three putt, it’s -3.

The objective that we established is the first person to get to 10 points OR be ahead by 10 points wins.

There are plenty of other ways to modify this game. For example:

  • Having streak bonuses. Once you make 2 in a row, any subsequent makes are worth 2 points, after 5 in a row, worth 3 points, etc.
  • Keeping a running tally. The game doesn’t have to have a definitive end point, especially if you play for money.

Here are some benefits to this game:

  1. Because there is a penalty for leaving putts short, it reinforces aggression and getting the ball to the hole.
  1. After doing some research on, I discovered that the leading TOUR average distance of all one-putts is ~8 feet. Graeme McDowell led this statistic in 2014, and from what I know, he’s not too shabby a player. Practicing putts from this range can help your game improve more than most.    (Source:
  1. Drills, including the 18-hole games, can be really boring, time consuming, and only marginally helpful. This game maximizes variety, attentiveness, and can help plug leaks in your putting.

Is there a particular game/drill that you use to improve your one-putt percentage? Any tweaks you’d make to the game presented above? Post your comments below. Hopefully, you’ll find this game as fun and as beneficial as I do.


About mikeguillenblog

Nevada resident who splits time between Las Vegas and Phoenix. I'm a former professional golfer turned author, freelance writer, and blogger.
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