How can I stop missing short putts?

Find out how to stop missing short putts with two simple drills

We’ve all experienced the phenomenon of missing a short putt, rolling it back and tapping it in the second time. We can also knock them in one-handed when we’re having a knockabout.

That suggests the problem with short putts is more mental than technical. So here are two ways you can grow your con dence.

1. Make the putt shorter

The unconfident club golfer takes a short putt and represents it in his mind as longer than it is. That makes it seem harder, which further hinders belief. But you can reverse this by making the putt seem shorter than it is.

Halve the putt Create a 4ft putt.

Stick a tee peg behind the hole to help your focus. Instead of looking at the putt from behind the ball, step halfway between ball and hole and make your practice swings from here. You know you can hole that two-footer! Don’t touch the line though! It’s a two-shot penalty.

Freer stroke

Having pictured the putt from halfway along its journey, step into the putt. Trace your eyes to that midpoint and note how much easier it feels to send the ball to it. You know that once you hit that point the ball is just going to roll out into the hole. So go ahead and hit the putt. You’ll feel a freer stroke, and see a better result

Achievable Goal

The putt you face is only a small extension of that shorter putt. All you have to do is send the ball over the spot you’re making this practice stroke from. When you split a short putt into two even smaller sections like this, the putt seems much more holeable.

2. Make the putt harder

When your task is harder on the practice green, the putt seems easier on the course. Here are two ways to do it. 

Narrow your target

Stick two tees in front of the hole, just wide enough for the ball to pass between them. See how many three-footers in a row you can hole with this smaller target. Register a personal best, then try to beat it. This drill makes the hole look bigger on the course, boosting your confidence and helping you make a more assured stroke.

Narrow your strike point

When a short putt is missed, you can almost always trace it back to a poor strike; toe and heel contact twist the face open and closed. By placing elastic bands around the putterhead – just wider than the ball – you force yourself to strike from the centre. A sweeter strike means sharper holing-out.

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