How to Hole More Short Putts

First, you have to accept that there is nothing automatic about short putts; to make them takes good technique, concentration and discipline. Even when all those are adhered to, the odd one is going to lip out. Personally, I think there’s no better practice than hitting a lot of short putts in a competitive frame of mind. That can mean participating in putting games for some small wager, or simply using your imagination to simulate a competitive situation. It’s the best way to lessen fear and build confidence. The Elements of Scoring

My image for a proper stroke is that of a wrecking ball crashing into the back of the ball—this is the kind of energy necessary for striking a putt. I never tell myself to hit the putt. I am always trying to get the swing of the putter to roll the ball even if I am trying to roll the ball over only one time. If you try to simply tap the putt, your stroke will decelerate. When this occurs, you’ll manipulate your hands, causing them to open or close the putter face. In most cases, you’ll open up the putter face and push the putt. Lowdown from the Lesson Tee

Short putts are all about confidence. The more you hole, the easier they become. There are many effective ways of practicing your technique, one of the most effective being simply to work around a hole, placing balls in a circle at a distance of two or three feet, and knocking them all in. The key is to focus on rhythm. Don’t get caught up in technique. Make sure your setup and alignment are right, and then repeat that ‘one-two’ tempo as you stroke each putt into the hole. There’s nothing sweeter than hearing the ball rattle around at the bottom of the cup. Positive Practice

Paint a white dot on the bottom of your putter grip so you can see it clearly when you address the ball. Now putt a series of three-foot putts, concentrating on the white dot. Try to make it move in a straight-back, straight-through manner. Because you can’t see the ball during the stroke, you remove the anxiety that comes from looking at the ball or the putter face. You’ll make a smooth, even stroke and use your sense of feel to keep the putter face square through impact. Golf Digest’s Book of Drills

By far the most important thing in your mind prior to the putting stroke should be an image in your mind’s eye of the stroke you want to make. The subconscious sees this stroke image and uses it to tell the body what to do. The basic idea is to keep your conscious mind busy seeing your perfect stroke during your practice swings, as a way to build your confidence and form a clear picture in your mind’s eye. Once you see and feel how you want to stroke the putt, the trick becomes simply keeping your conscious mind busy and out of the way (for example, thinking about your preshot ritual) so your subconscious can do its thing.
Dave Pelz’s Putting Bible

The “jab technique” for short putts is a stroke that is shorter, sharper and firmer, with less emphasis on the follow-through. Remember that as the ball loses its momentum it is more apt to be thrown off by imperfections around the cup. So the more you are able to neutralize these outside effects on your short putts, the more effectively you will hole the ball. With the “jab” technique, it is easier to putt for the center of the cup. This also provides a psychological lift, because you no longer have to worry about so many outside factors affecting the result of your putt. The Master’s Secrets of Putting

I would prefer that you practice a few short putts before you tee off so that you’ll be more comfortable on the course. While you’re practicing, focus on your breathing. If you’re typical of most weekend golfers, you’ll approach a breaking five-footer to save par with more fear than you would a 200-yard approach over water. Correct breathing will help calm your nerves and, as a result, your stroke. As you stand over each putt, take a deep breath. Slowly exhale just prior to beginning your stroke. Feel your arms and hands relax as you set your putter head into motion. Lights-Out Putting



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