My old college coach, Dave Williams at the University of Houston, used to preach that a five or six-foot putt was the most important stroke in the game. I have to agree with him. If you miss it and it is an inch tap in, that inch tap in is equal to the best drive you ever hit in your life.
Why are Short Putts Important?
The difference between making and missing these has a big effect on your score. As we get closer to the hole, for a putt inside 10 feet, the line that the ball starts on is more significant, or should take more focus, than how hard to hit it. A lag putt has to do more with how hard to hit it.
Practice Drill: Improve Short Putt Accuracy
This is a practice drill designed to help you confirm in your mind that you know what line you are taking as you read breaking putts. The better you are at knowing what line you actually putt on the better you are going to be at reading greens.
- What I have done as a little putting drill is to place the ball down so that the label of the ball points right on the line that I am trying to putt on.
- In this case it is a slight right to left break so I am going to point it right at the right edge of the hole. Along with setting the ball so that the label reads at that right edge, I have placed a coin down at the midpoint.
- It is about a six-foot putt so somewhere at about three feet I have put this coin down so that the ball will roll just along the path as it breaks above that coin so that the coin is underneath the break.
- As I stand behind the ball that coin gives me the opportunity to know that I have made that line visible on the green.
Reading the Green Accurately
When I stand besides it does it look that way to me? Can I confirm in my mind that as I stand besides the ball that I am seeing that actual line? Or am I misaligned, do my eyes not look that way when I get to the side of the ball. So this little practice drill, if you do it continuously from the same spot for a few minutes, you can begin to really get on the course and really focus on the line and know if your stroke goes where you are seeing.
Looking down my line, I can confirm that penny. That ball hit just on the edge of the coin and went in. Now I can feel very secure that as I come up to a six-foot putt I am able to set my putter and my alignment along the proper line that I have chosen to the hole. It will help short putting and you will save strokes that way.