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Even if you can't play during the dead of winter, you can still practise meaningfully at home
Gales and blizzards are not conducive to playing your best golf - or even to playing at all - but that shouldn't stop you from honing your putting stroke so that, when the new season starts you're in a good position to make a flying start.

And indoor practice offers an excellent opportunity to overcome one of the most destructive putting faults - leaving the ball short of the hole.

So here's a simple drill that, used two or three times a week for just a few minutes, will help ensure you get the ball up to the hole once you're back on the course.

One of the major reasons for leaving putts short is that players take a longer than needed backstroke, and then decelerate through impact - the opposite of what is needed. To overcome this, stand with your ball and putter head no more than six or eight inches from a wall (see picture over).

From this position it is impossible to take the putter head too far back, and from a short backswing you are obliged to make a long follow-through in order to get the ball to reach its target (see picture above).

It's a drill that quickly pays dividends and there's every chance it will see you hole more crucial putts in the year ahead.

©    9 - FEBRUARY 2004

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