A three-hundred yard drive counts the same number of strokes as a five-foot putt. If you miss the putt you end up taking two strokes to get the ball into the hole from five feet away. That’s why making short putts is so important to shooting good scores. Learn to make more short putts, you’ll eliminate strokes and shoot lower scores.
Golf swing coach Jeff Ritter says short putts are about precision, the ball needs to start on the right line to go into the hole. To do that, Ritter says, “Think of the back palm like a second putterface. Your back palm needs to look in the direction of the hole, because it’s determining the direction of the putterface. If you can keep that palm on the right line, you’re going to keep your putterface square, so your ball is going to roll on the right line, too.”
World Golf Hall of Fame member and three-time Major Championship winner Larry Nelson has a simple tour-tested method to make short putts. “Thinking too much about trying to get the ball in the hole can get almost paralyzing. What I do is I pick out a spot about six to eight inches in front of the ball on the line where I want the ball to go. Then all I do is concentrate on rolling the ball over that spot. That way you don’t even really have to think about the hole. You just roll the ball over the spot you pick out. If the spot is on the right line, the ball goes in.”
Head movement is another factor that contributes to missed short putts. Many golfers get anxious and lift or turn their heads too soon to see the ball roll into the hole. That extra head movement can affect your stroke enough to cause a miss, even from short distance. Concentrate on keeping your head still throughout the entire stroke, even if that means hearing, rather than actually seeing the ball go into the hole. You’ll learn to really enjoy that sound when you start making more short putts.