To my practice putting I do what might be called a ladder drill but I call it my “kiss” drill.
I choose a spot 10 or 12 feet away, usually against a wall, and hit the ball there. The next ball I hit I aim at the first ball and try to hit it so that it will cozy up and “kiss” or touch the first ball.
If I hit it too hard it will knock the other ball and move it out of the way.
If I hit it too softly it won’t touch the other ball at all.
The ball has to be hit just right. If it taps the other ball and knocks it but the other ball doesn’t move or bounces back and returns to its same place then I can count that. If it doesn’t get touched or gets knocked away I cannot.
It requires me to be very precise in my control of speed. I don’t care about the line – I do aim to hit the other ball but if it hit it and veers off because of a bump in my carpet I can still tell if the speed was correct. Whether it veers to the right or to the left it should still not roll past the other ball or stop short. It should end up next to it or very slightly past or forward (within a ball width).
The best I have ever done with this drill is about half of all putts rolling to within a ball width of the previous one. Even then my putting dramatically improved and 4 footers really were gimmes and 6 footers always at least scared the hole.
The point is that if you can control you speed to within one ball width in the comfort of your own home then on the course this can translate into dramatic improvement. The reason is that you actually have two additional margins of error on the course that you don’t have in your house. For one, the width of the cup is actually wider than a ball width. I believe that a hole on the green is about 3 inches in diameter. A golf ball, however, is only about 1 and a half or 2 inches in diameter. So you have twice as much leeway in terms of the size of the ball. This is a bit technical and maybe even overly precise but I have found that the higher the standards you hold yourself to in practice the better able you are able to benefit from all the practice when you get on the course. And, let’s face it, we ALL want to be able to bring our “range game” to the course. The second margin of error is in speed. Yes, you are doing all of this and trying your best to be ever so precise in controlling your speed but the reality is that if you are a little off, and hit it too hard, it will still go in. Unlike putting on the carpet we don’t care if it hits hard and knocks into the back of the cup. Indeed that can even be encouraging sometimes. So even though you have trained yourself to be ever so precise in determining how hard to hit the ball, you have a bit more leeway on the course to hit it a bit harder and as long as there is not some crazy break or slope involved and your line is okay it will probably go in.
And that’s my way of practicing putting indoors!