How to Aim Better to Make More Short Putts

By Steve Silverman

They should be the easiest shots in the game. Putting a short putt into the hole should be a reward for a golfer and not a major test. But that's what it often is. A 4-foot putt can be fraught with peril and a late break can send the ball outside of the hole and not in the middle.


Difficulty: Moderate
Step 1
Walk up to the ball and strike it. No practice swing, no visualization. On a short putt, if you just aim and hit, you will end up with the ball in the hole 95 percent of the time. But if you take three practice swings and take two or three looks at it, you are more likely to fail.
Step 2
Check the green for subtle breaks. You will be able to see a major turn left or right if the green is on a hill or there is a major slope. But sometimes the golf course designers will stick in a small twist that is hard to see. Get in your crouch and look at the ground right in front of your ball. If you see a small dip, that means the ball likely will bend away from the hole.
Step 3
Go to school on your playing partners' putts. If their putt is on the same path as yours and it bends to the left, your putt will turn that way also. A shorter putt won't bend or travel as much because it is not struck with the same velocity but it will turn.
Step 4
On a short, uphill putt, make sure your ball reaches the hole. Many golfers will baby their 4-foot putts because they don't want to go past the hole. That's negative thinking. You want to get your ball to the hole and in. What's the use of reading the green properly if your ball doesn't reach the hole?
Step 5
Go to the practice green before you start your round and hit 15 short putts. You will be more relaxed if you can hit your short putts before the round and making them on the practice green will help you in the long run.

Tips & Warnings

Hit your putt, even if it's only 3 or 4 feet. You still have to get your ball to the hole.

About The Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.

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