Try Scottie Scheffler’s 3-target putting drill to simplify your short game

Phil Kenyon, Scottie Scheffler's putting coach, shares the 3-target drill that's helped the No. 1-ranked player improve his short game

Try this Scottie Scheffler drill, as explained by his putting coach Phil Kenyon.

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Welcome to Shaving Strokes, a series in which we’re sharing improvements, learnings and takeaways from amateur golfers just like you — including some of the speed bumps and challenges they faced along the way.

Another week, another Scottie Scheffler victory, with his latest win coming at the Travelers Championship last weekend by defeating his buddy Tom Kim in a playoff.

Is anybody really that surprised with the outcome? Other than the fact that Scheffler was pushed to extra holes, probably not. After all, the world’s No. 1-ranked player has now already won six(!) tournaments this year, all before the month of July. The last player who did that was Arnold Palmer, in 1962.

Yep, when it comes to the world of golf, it’s all Scheffler’s — everyone else is just living in it.

While there are obvious stats that point to his success this year, one massive improvement has come on the greens, where Scheffler has ascended up the charts in Strokes Gained: Putting this season.

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By comparison, last year he ranked 162nd in that category. Thus far in 2024? He’s seen a dramatic rise to 80th, which is a remarkable improvement, and one that has obviously helped him snatch win after win.

The man who’s helped Scheffler, Phil Kenyon, is famous for being a putting guru, so the fact that his fingerprints are all over this isn’t too surprising.

And while there are other keys and other factors that have led to Scheffler’s dominant season to this point, Kenyon recently described a 3-target putting drill that’s played a big role in helping Scheffler keep his mind clear and his routine simplified. Check out how (and why) it works below.

How Scottie Scheffler’s 3-target putting drill works

Most golfers tend to focus on their mechanics during the putting stroke. But Kenyon says that Scheffler started using this drill just prior to the Arnold Palmer Invitational to help bring out more of his natural athleticism.

“If you’ve become a little bit too technical in your thinking, and you want to try and become a little more reactionary, this drill is really going to help you,” Kenyon says.

Here’s how it works.

“I’ve got three discs, which are my targets that I want the ball to roll over — so I’ve really got to read the putt and choose the appropriate line first,” Kenyon adds. “I want to work backwards from the hole, placing the discs in the last two-thirds of the putt.”

The image below shows what the drill should look like.

How the 3-target drill should look after setting up. Image via Phil Kenyon

Once the three discs are placed on your line, Kenyon says you should use your instincts to determine where to properly start it.

“I think the ball’s going to roll just on the inside of these discs, so they don’t have to be perfectly on the line,” Kenyon says. “Now I’ve read the putt and have projected where the ball’s going to pass. So as I step in, I’m really focusing on where that ball’s running into the hole.

“When I step in and aim, I’m using my senses on where I need to start the ball to meet that curve [and the line of those discs].”

After setting up over the putt and getting a feel for where the ball should start to hit the line you’ve made, Kenyon then describes what your eyes should be doing prior to starting your backswing.

The following image shows how it should feel.

Your eyes should feel where the target line lies. Image via Phil Kenyon

“I look down through those three discs and, as my eyes come back, I want to feel where those discs are [with my peripheral vision], almost like I’ve got a third eye on the side of my head,” he describes.

Once you get your alignment and see and feel the curve of the discs, you hit your putt — hoping that your line is right where it needs to be, with the ball rolling on the inside of those three discs.

Why this 3-target drill has improved Scheffler’s putting

Considering Scheffler’s touch with the flat stick has improved tremendously so far this year, it’s clear Kenyon’s methods have made a difference. So what’s been the major reason? According to Kenyon, this specific drill allows Scheffler to use his instincts and not just focus on his mechanics all the time.

“It’s a great exercise to get yourself more target focused,” Kenyon explains. “With [Scottie Scheffler] in particular, because he was using the line on the ball, he was getting too internal and too technical-minded. That wasn’t allowing his good mechanics to come through.

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“If you’re working on your mechanics, it’s really easy to try and be perfect. But this [3-target drill] is a more appropriate focus that you need on the golf course — since you need to be into your target. That’s going to help you with your speed control and it’s going to focus your mind to allow your stroke to come through.”

While none of us will ever have the golf game that Scheffler does, the idea that you need to be perfect is something all players can relate with. That’s why Kenyon says this 3-target drill can help eliminate that feeling.

“It’s so easy to think about making a perfect stroke that, oftentimes, that stroke becomes contrived and unathletic,” he says. “So this is a great exercise to become more focused on those target points and reacting to those targets.”

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Nick Dimengo Editor