Mat finish

During the winter months, unless you’re blessed to be able to travel or live in a slightly warmer climate than the North East, working on your putting outside isn’t going to be high on your priority list.

However, as the dark nights are going to be with us for a few months yet, we’ve got lots of time to improve our putting strokes.

There are a lot of putting aids you can work with at home and I’m fond of a few of them – mirrors, string lines and alignment sticks/markings are great tools to build consistency in your setup – a fundamental to improving putting performance. But, you can also putt on the carpet with nothing more than a ball and a tee peg.

A really simple drill I love to work on is to practice controlling my start line by placing a tee upside down. I then start 3ft from the tee and try to knock it over with the ball. If I do, I move back to 4ft, then 5ft and so on while tracking how far I get before I miss.

This not only builds your understanding of aim, it also gets you into the mindset of choosing small, specific targets. Plus there’s an element of competition – particularly when you compete against your teenage son – which engages your mind properly.

Try and work on your putting for just a few minutes every day this winter – using this drill along with any others which focus on improving the weak points in your putting. A little time now will help you hit the ground running in April.