For many, golf is a game of frustration. Nothing feels worse than hitting some really good shots for the first 400 yards of a hole only to take twice the amount to move the ball the additional 40 feet to get it in the hole. Putting doesn't have to be an exercise in futility.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Read the green. Start by standing behind your ball with the hole in the distance and take a high-angle look at the ground that your ball is going to be rolling over. Then, squat down behind your ball. Getting lower to the surface of the green will help you determine the bends and breaks in the putting surface and allow you to pick the most prudent line for your putt.
Walk the line. Once you've looked over the putt in front of you, pace off the distance to the hole. You don't have to measure every step, but make sure you have a reasonable understanding of the distance.
Squat down briefly on the other side of the hole. You're now looking past the cup to your ball in the distance. This gives you another vantage point to take in the line of the putt.
Address the ball. The key is to keep a good comfortable stance. Your feet should be shoulder width (or closer together, if that's more comfortable) and the ball should be equidistant between them. A good way to tell if your stance is correct is to line up off the toes. If you draw a line from your back toe to your front toe, and then on to the line you want to putt, they should match up. If they do not not line up, your feet are out of position and you need to reset.
Get it close. Long putts can be especially unnerving. In your mind, draw a bulls-eye around the cup, with the outer edge of the last circle 10 feet or so away from dead center. This will affect the way you putt the ball--you are trying to get it close (in the inner circle) and not trying to drop it in the hole. It takes some of the pressure off, allowing you to get up and down in two putts with less frustration.
Make a solid stroke. The putting stroke is like a pendulum, so having the ball in the middle of your stance is very important. Don't pull back fast or more than a foot or so. Keep the swing smooth, make solid contact with the ball in the middle of the putter and then follow up with a smooth release. Keep your head down through the putt.
Tips & Warnings
Nobody likes a slow golfer. Take time to play the best you can, but be considerate of other golfers.