1. Don't make it happen, Let it happen!
Never try to force a putt in the hole. Some Professional Golfers let it happen by using a heavier putter and letting the putter do as much work as possible. Get a comfortable stance with your eyes directly over the ball, and be sure you allow a free arm swing without any appreciable body movement.
2. Use a Pendulum Motion
A good way to think about your putting stroke is to imagine it as a pendulum (just don't get too mechanical). The speed of the back stroke and the forward stroke should be as equal as possible (the length of each doesn't necessarily have to be equal). Finally, be sure that you accelerate through the ball. Any hint of deceleration could spell disaster.
3. Get a Feel for Distance.
More 3-putts are caused by poor distance control rather than by bad direction. Distance putts are a matter of hand/eye coordination or "feel" that can only be acquired through practice. Practice putts from 20, 30 and 40 feet, first on flat, and then on sloping surfaces. Also, try stroking some putts with your eyes closed to get a better mental picture.
4. Find the sweet spot on your putter.
You want to determine where the sweet spot is on your -putter, this will lead to consistent, solid contact. The sweet spot is the location on the putter that the ball comes off the most consistently, often indicated with a line on the top of the putter.
I recommend using a different grip than you use for the full swing. The full swing grip is designed for the hinging of your wrists, which should not happen in the putting stroke. I recommend a reverse overlap or cross-handed grip for the most success.
6. Read the Green.
Start to read the green by looking at the overall position of the greens as you approach it. As you get closer, you can begin to get a feeling about the portion of the green where the hole and your ball are located. What I visualize is the slope and contour of the green as the way water would flow if it were poured on the surface. Take a look at your putt from more than one angle, it may look different from the other side.
7. Break it down.
Break a putt of any length down into smaller parts. Imagine a line that the ball will take to the hole and pick a spot only about four inches from where your ball lies and use that as your target. You can reduce any length putt to just a few inches in length.
8. Find the real center of the cup.
Get a feel for where the true center of the cup is while putting. Most players just figure that the center is simply the part of the hole nearest your ball at address. This can be misleading for putts that break. The center of the hole is actually the part of the ball that will be facing as it curls in from the high side.
9. Practice Advice and Drills
A. Short putts -- Lay down two irons in a path on either side of the hole parallel to each other. Start with one footers, then two and three footers. The irons will help you keep the putter blade square.
B. Circle drill -- place 6-7 golf balls in a circle around the hole about 5 feet away and then go around the circle and attempt to make every putt around the circle.
C. Line drill -- place 5 balls in a line starting two feet from the hole, then four feet, six, eight, and finally 10 feet away. Start by making the two foot putt and move back each time you make one, but if you miss you must start over.
D. One ball -- Spend time on the putting green with just one ball. This will lead to increased concentration and more on course like conditions.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.