Low-handicaps reveal their secret to making short putts

Short putts are the great equalizer in golf. Everyone from the pros to weekend warriors get nervous standing over them. We all want to make more of them, so enter GOLF’s resident low-handicaps, who are here to offer some helpful advice, golfer-to-golfer.

1. Ditch Your Fears

Dylan Dethier (+3.3 handicap): Committing to trying your best. There are two keys here:

1. Take your time

2. Ditch any fear of failure.

The hardest thing about short putts is the fear of embarrassment if you miss. But putts of any length are difficult. Ditch that fear! Ditch that embarrassment! And practice ‘em, too.

2. Fast And Commit

Josh Sens (2.5 handicap): I wish I knew. But on days when I putt well, I find myself doing two things.

1. Not spending too much time over them.

2. Focusing on accelerating through impact and trying to hit the ball at the back of the cup, rather than trying to coax the ball in.

I’ve had some success with the Jordan Spieth method of looking at the cup instead of the ball; it seems to minimize the yips I developed a few years ago. But, as I noted about swing tips above, that has worked only off and on over the years.

3. Listen To The Ball Drop

Ashley Mayo (3.1 handicap): Confidence. Read the putt, pick a spot you want to aim to, burn a hole in that spot with your eyes, then fire away with 100 percent confidence. And listen to the ball drop. Gary Player once said that the only reason we peek at the ball on those short putts is because we’re not totally sure we’ve committed to the right line. If you keep your head down and listen to the putt drop (which is a lot easier said than done!), that confidence will help you make ‘em more often.

4. Confidence, Confidence, Confidence

Joe Summa (4.9 handicap): Confidence! Follow through the ball, forcing yourself to not decelerate as you impact the ball. So many short putts are missed because they were hit too soft, breaking just before the cup to the left or right. Hitting a short putt with confidence and normal putting stroke will increase your make percent at an alarming rate. Don’t worry about missing and having to make the return putt, if you putt the ball with confidence you’ll have to worry about that much less frequent. Another small tip I find useful is picking a spot 6 inches in front of the ball that’s on your line. Don’t even look at the hole, putt the ball directly over that marked spot, and your ball will always be on line!

5. Focus On The Process

Luke Kerr-Dineen (2.2 handicap) When I was putting my best, On short putts I’d draw a line all the way around my golf ball, point it at one of five spots (left edge, left center, center, right center, right edge), and after that, the only thing I cared about was rolling the ball end-over-end. I didn’t care if the ball went in the hole or missed. I really didnt. If the ball rolled end-over-end — clear enough that I could see black line rolling straight — I truly didn’t care about anything else.

3 products to help you nail your short putts

Odyssey Putting Mirror Black Putting Aids

A putting mirror that works for both left and right-handed golfers that trains you to keep your eyes over the ball.

Wellputt Start Black / Orange / Grey Putting Aids

A putting mat that comes with a corresponding app that helps train three different distances inside 10 feet.

Rubber Putting Cup with Flag Green

An affordable target that you can make bigger or smaller, to give you the feeling of knocking-in putts.

While these products have been independently selected by GOLF.com’s editorial team, GOLF.com may earn a small commission on sales, as an e-commerce partner of GlobalGolf.


Luke Kerr-Dineen

Golf.com Contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is the Game Improvement Editor at GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com. In his role he oversees the brand’s game improvement content spanning instruction, equipment, health and fitness, across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms.

An alumni of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he helped them to No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue his Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University. His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.