Playing golf often starts out as a fun way to relax and get away from the rigors of work for an afternoon. For many people the game becomes an obsession. Once a golfer starts to learn the game, the most important thing is learning how to swing to get the ball in the air and send it down the fairway. Putting? That's an afterthought for most beginners. However, once a golfer realizes that to get a decent score he has to putt the ball consistently, it becomes a focus of his attention. This is especially true when it comes to long putts.
Look at your ball on the green as you walk up the fairway. This is to look at your putt from a long perspective. Consider whether the green is flat or undulating, whether there is water on the downside of the green or a hill on the upside. Know the terrain.
Get 10 feet behind your ball and get down in a crouch so you can eyeball its path to the hole. Look for potential breaks along the way. If you see a dip to the left, your ball will most likely break that way. A crease to the right will most likely send it right.
Walk a line from your ball to the hole. You are looking for even more indicators as to how your ball will move. If you see any extraneous material along your ball's path---a pebble or a leaf---you can remove it.
Stand over your ball and look at your target. Forget about draining your 25-foot putt. Instead, draw a 5-foot circle around the hole and try to get your ball to finish within that circle which will leave you with a makable putt. This should also take the pressure off of you because the possibility of making the long putt is quite unlikely. You want to give yourself a more realistic goal.
Take one practice swing and then hit your ball. Do not take three or four practice swings or stand over your putt contemplating for more than 15 seconds. This type of activity only leads to a tighter grip on the club and the likelihood that you will not be relaxed when you putt.
Tips & Warnings
Watch how your playing partners hit their putts if they are going at the hole from the same area of the green that you are putting from.