Make the Short Putt Fall

By: Donald N. Lombardi


This article is about how you can Make the Short Putt Fall

When you discover yourself missing scores of short putts you may drive yourself senseless looking for a solution that works for more than a round or two.

I have witnessed guys adjust different aspects of their stance, ball position, putter grips and in extreme cases purchase new putters all in an effort to make more of those putts from five feet or less. It certainly is difficult to be confident and consistent while you have such a large amount adjustment going on.

Here is an improved way.

You can fix your small putting issues by focusing on the basics of your putting stroke. A key element of a firm putting stroke is that the putter head is accelerating through the ball toward the hole.

During my observation of fellow golf players I have noticed a number of very unusual putting strategies. A number of what I describe "The Tap" where the putter face strikes the ball and then recoils backwards. This approach demands great eye-hand coordination. Others reposition the putter up away from the surface of the green as they manage contact. This provides top spin but sacrifices distance and precision.

A more common error is to decelerate on short putts. As soon as you are distressed from this mistake, someplace in your thinking, no matter whether consciously or unconsciously, you become concerned with striking the ball too hard and you "amend" your stroke by slowing down as you move the putter head forward. If this becomes a practice your short putting game will disappoint you for sure.

Enter these five ideas in mind when preparing for short putts:

Making the Short Putts Fall

Hands in front - The hands should be positioned a little ahead of the ball. This prevents the hands from releasing too much and helps to keep the putter head moving properly through contact with the ball.

Start with shoulders - Begin your stroke by approaching the front shoulder down and away from the hole. This is related to the full swing takeaway.
Wrists remain steady - The wrist should not break at all. Keep them in their address position relative to the arms and the putter as the shoulders move them in the backstroke and forward stroke.

Short backstroke - If you are decelerating, at that moment you are for the most part likely taking the putter too far back and your brain recognizes that you are likely to move the ball too far so it slows the speed of the forward stroke. A shorter backswing promotes the proper speed in the forward stroke and will improve precision.

Follow through - The putter moves beyond contact toward the hole the same distance it moved in the backswing. Consider about how long your stroke should be as you take your practice stroke(s) and hit those marks in both the backswing and forward swing.

Hold these tips in mind when you are struggling with small putts. There is a better possibility you will cause things to straighten out using this method than if you start making radical changes similar to what a number of others have made.

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Donald N. Lombardi is an online researcher and consultant on the subject of Mastering Your Putt. You can also read about other golfing ideas that he has implemented, field tested and proven to be successful on his website The Golf Shop.

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