Make every 4-footer.

These tips will help you sink all the shorts ones.

First, I have a confession. I didn’t make every short putt I attempted on the PGA Tour in 2011. From five feet and in, I made 1 006 out of 1 024 (98.24 percent). So if you don’t want my advice, I understand. Joking aside, the reason I make most short putts is that I stick with some sensible fundamentals and never deviate from them. If you routinely miss the ones you should be making, my advice should help you, too.


The biggest thing I work on is alignment. I practice a lot from four to six feet around a hole. Make those putts, and you know your sense of alignment is right on. To improve it, stand behind the ball and use your putter- shaft to visualize the path to the hole (1). The shaft wall gives you a «guiding line» to roll the ball on. Then focus on a specific part of the hole instead of the entire cup. If the putt has some movement, pick the part that will allow the ball to curl in from the high side.


You want the to feel like an extension of your arms, particularly your right arm. In addition to gripping the club lightly and setting up with the ball just inside your left heel (to promote a better roll), set your right arm so it’s in line with the shaft (2). Keeping the putterface square to your path is so crucial on the short ones — there are no prizes for just missing — so use your right arm to make sure you don’t accidentally twist the face open or closed.


Don’t get booged down with mechanical thoughts. Focus on that guiding line you drew in your mind and roll the ball down that line. One thing I really think about is «sticking my finish.» That means I stroke the putt and hold my finish until the ball drops (3). Stay still, but don’t worry if your head moves a little. You want to resist the urge to look up or retract the putter.

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