Elements of Practice: Putting Over Tiers

Get up, over and in the cup.

  • Golfers 3-putt when putting over tiers 10-times more often than they 3-putt on flat greens from the same distance of 35-feet.
  • Having a realistic “Tier” in your backyard green complex will teach you how putts break as they traverse a Tier, and improve your touch for distance.
  • Speed control (touch) up and down Tiers is an extra challenge to all golfers — because we have very few references.
  • Tiers are a very nice Element of Practice to add to a putting green. Tiers present considerable problems to golfers, so incorporating a tier is an excellent way to increase the putting challenge.

Note: The design of transition tiers should focus (channel) the balls into the lower putting area, not disperse the balls onto the lower area. Also design tiers as if you were expecting to cut real grass over them, and you don’t want the mower to scalp the turf (don’t make them too abrupt). We want them to be realistic for golfers to experience in their backyards, then on real courses similarly.

Game Set-up:

Two holes which are somewhere between 20 and 35-feet apart, and traverse over a tier, are required for this game (Phony Holes can also be used). All putts, both in green-reading and touch-for-distance, become more difficult when a tier is involved. Golfers are simply not experienced enough with Tiers – and therefore a tier is a great addition to most greens. Tiers can define a shelf and separate features of your putting green. Putting up or down a tier challenges the touch of all golfers. Putting up or down a tier from a side-angle inevitably challenges a golfers’ green-reading ability.

Walk to a position about 10-feet directly below the fall-line of a tier and mark with a sticker (tee). This position should leave a putt of 20 to 35-feet to the hole on the top tier. Then mark two additional points to putt from below the tier, at least 10 or more feet to the left and right of this point. These three positions will provide three different breaking up-the-tier putts for this game. To set up for down-the-tier putts, do the same procedure in the opposite direction (establish straight down the tier fall-line putt first, and then add putts breaking from both sides of it).

The following table is a guideline to Tier design:

Tier height change Min. width required
4-6 inches 18-inches
10-12 inches 3-feet
Consult a SYNLawn Golf installation expert for further assistance.

Now Putt:

Practice with 3 balls, putting the straight up-the-tier putt until you roll all 3 putts into the 34-inch safe-zone circle around the target hole. Then move to one of the side putts and putt again until you roll 3 in a row into the safe-zone. After a few weeks of this practice, the Tier Drill can be completed by rolling 10 putts in a row (3+3+3+1) into the safe zone, changing putts after each 3.

Practicing this drill either up or down a tier is a great way to learn the break and touch requirements necessary for avoiding 3-putts on the golf course. Also, the chipping and pitching challenge to the green is enhanced when a tier is involved.

image of putting over tiers golf game
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