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Game of the Weekend: Drawback

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Most golfers regularly suffer from the inability to take their game from the practice area to the course. Why is this? Why can they hit it, chip it or putt it so great when practicing, but struggle once they set foot on the course? To answer this question, we first need to understand what most golfers are experiencing when they’re on the course.

Common answers include:

  • I only get one try.
  • I’m thinking about my score too much.
  • There’s a consequence to a bad shot.
  • I get too mechanical.
  • I experience different lies on the course.
  • I feel a lot of pressure.

After reading that list, it may be more obvious why practice is easy and playing well on the golf course is a different story. It also makes sense that those who perform better on the course bring the elements of variability, consequence, pressure and score to their practice sessions.

“How do you prepare for such pressure-packed situations like the Ryder Cup?” Ian Poulter, Europe’s most clutch Ryder Cup player, was asked. His answer: “Everything is a game.” He, too, turns his practice sessions into competitive, game-like situations.

My name is Trent Wearner, and I’m the author of a new GolfWRX series called “Game of the Weekend” that I know will help you shoot lower scores. I’m going to introduce you to a great new golf game every Friday, and you can take my training further by logging your scores into an interactive practice website called www.golfscrimmages.com. There you can find a couple dozen games for every area of the game that will help you make practice as difficult as, or even more challenging than what you experience on the golf course.

Game of the Weekend: Drawback

  • Gear needed: A putter and one ball. Ball marker is encouraged.
  • Time needed: About 15 minutes to play one round.

If Drawback was the only putting game you ever practiced, you would become a fantastic pressure putter from all distances.

The Rules: You will play 9 holes of this putting game. The first hole should be from 20 feet away, the second hole from 30 feet away, and the third from 40 feet away. Then repeat that process an additional two times for a total of 9 holes. If your first putt goes in the cup on each hole, you record a score of one. If it doesn’t go in, you must draw the ball back one putter length. (Note: Those of you who use a long putter or belly putter should only draw it back 3 feet). If that putt goes in, you score a 2. If it misses, you must draw the ball back one putter length again, continuing in this same manner until the ball is holed. Total the number of putts it takes you on all nine holes and enter that score.

The Benefits: Here’s what this game helps you with.

  1. On the first putt of each hole, your mindset will soon change from “a good lag putt is acceptable” to “I want to hole this first putt.” Trust me, you won’t want to fiddle with all of the drawing back business. The mentality of striving to hole putts instead of just getting them close is a big step to lowering your scores.
  2. Odds are that you won’t be able to make the majority of your 20-, 30- and 40-foot putts, so it’s inevitable that you will have a large number of pressure-packed short putts from 3-8 feet and that’s where you’ll gain ice in your veins.
  3. By playing this game often, you’ll become accustomed to drawing it back after your first putt. When you get on the course and don’t have to draw it back, however, the on-course play will feel so much easier. And when the course feels easier than the practice area, you know you’re doing something great for your game!

For this game, I encourage golfers to go through their entire pre-shot routine before every putt. Depending on your routine, that probably means marking your ball, reading the putt and taking a certain amount of practice strokes. Remember, we want this drill to feel just like putts on the golf course.

Have fun getting better this weekend!

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Trent Wearner is the No. 1-rated teacher in Colorado by Golf Digest Magazine, as well as a two-time Colorado PGA Teacher of the Year (2004, 2014). Along the way, he has been recognized as a Top 20 Teacher Under Age 40 by Golf Digest, a Top 50 Kids Teacher in America by U.S. Kids Golf and a Top Teacher in the Southwestern U.S. by GOLF Magazine. Trent is also the author of the book Golf Scrimmages and creator of the website GolfScrimmages.com

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. JR

    Aug 31, 2015 at 9:50 am

    Good Stuff! I will be using this next time I take some students outside. Been looking for new/interesting short game drills.

  2. Brian

    Aug 24, 2015 at 10:49 pm

    Played this a lot as a kid but we played if you are short any distance you draw it back, but if you were with in the leather past the hole you didn’t move the ball, anything outside the leather past the hole got drawn back as well. Great drill to help with the weight and line of you putts.

  3. rymail00

    Aug 21, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    Trent,

    I really like the concept of this game/drill. It sounds fun and I’m looking forward to more articles and games/drills. I enjoy practicing as much as playing. So I’m always looking open to drills to keep it fun and productive.

    Keep’em coming!
    Ryan

  4. Chance

    Aug 21, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    I like the idea of this article. Seems like a great drill! Cant wait to see more!

  5. Ryan K

    Aug 21, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    This seems like a really great idea, I’ll try it out!

  6. Adam

    Aug 21, 2015 at 11:11 am

    I’m definitely going to give this game a go!

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Here is a great video on understanding what allows a great player to get through the ball and deliver hardcore to his targets. Without this part of his grip, he would be hard-pressed to deliver anything with any kind of smash factor and compression. See what you can learn from his grip.

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In today’s age of hitting the ball as hard and as far as you can on tour, I am amazed at the number of amateur golfers who totally disregard the idea of quality impact. In fact, you can hit the ball further with better impact than you can with poor impact and more speed (to a point.) Sure, if you can kick the clubhead speed up 10 MPH-plus versus your normal speed, then this is not a requirement, but in reality most players only swing a few MPH faster when they actually try. Yes, this is true, I see it day after day. You might think you can swing 10 MPH faster but rarely do I see more than 2-3 MPH tops.

I had a student that came in the other day and was obsessed with swinging harder but when he did his impacts were terrible! When I put him on Trackman and showed him the data he was astounded that he could swing slower yet produce more distance.

Here was a typical swing he made when swinging faster 105.8 mph where the impact was low on the face and the ball carried 222.3 yards.


Here was a typical swing he made when swinging slower 102.9 mph where the impact was much better on the face and the ball carried 242.7 yards.

Now, obviously we know that this works to a certain degree of swing speed but it does show you that focusing on quality impact is a key as well. I’m always telling my players that I want them to swing as hard and as fast as they can AND maintain quality impact location — if you can do both then you can have it all!

The best way to understand impact quality without dismantling your swing is to use foot spray to coat the face of the club then hit a few balls to see where impact normally occurs and see if you can adjust.


If you can, great, if not, then go see your teaching professional and figure out why so you can find quality impact once and for all!

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Leo Rooney, Director of Performance at Urban Golf Performance, shows you how to get ready to hit balls and/or hit the golf course.

Who is Leo Rooney?

Director of Performance at Urban Golf Performance
B.Sc Exercise Physiology
TPI, NSCA

Leo Rooney played 16 years of competitive golf, in both college and professionally. He got a degree in exercise physiology and has worked with anyone from top tour players to beginners. Leo is now the Director of Performance at Urban Golf Performance and is responsible for the overall operations but still works closely with some elite tour players and the UCLA Men’s Golf Team.

He also has experience in long driving with a personal best 445-yard drive in the 2010 European Long driving Championship.

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