An important swing thought to stop missing those pesky short putts
I’ve always felt that a player who makes more than their fair share of short putts doesn’t necessarily have the best stroke, but instead has a better mindset. Confidence is huge on the greens and can often mask mistakes in technique that cause less-assured players to squander opportunities.
Self-belief isn’t something you can snatch out of thin air, however. It’s rooted in successful reps in practice and reinforced by your performance on the course. You may need to fake that confidence at first, but in the end you’ll need that poised practice to truly reap the benefits.
There are countless drills for building confidence on short putts. Regardless of the type of drill, make sure you always have two things as a constant: Practice your full, on-course putting routine and have a consequence or goal to hold yourself accountable. This means you should go through the process of marking your ball, reading the green, setting up a visible line (if you use one), making practice strokes, etc. There will be times when it feels tedious and you’ll want to take a shortcut. Don’t.
As you get more and more comfortable practicing your pre-putt routine, it’ll feel like you’re on autopilot on the course. That’s the confidence you’re looking for.
One last tip that really helps: Always hold your finish position until the ball drops into the hole or stops rolling in the event of a miss. Committing to your finish keeps you steady and greatly increases your make percentage on critical short putts.
Brady Riggs teaches at Woodley Lakes GC in Van Nuys, Calif.