Tame your putting nerves to make every three-footer

Draining three-foot putts should be easy. It’s the shortest, simplest stroke in golf—just keep the face somewhat square and you’ll make it. Heck, you don’t even have to read the putt! But so-called knee-knockers turn everyday golfers into quivering bundles of nerves. Well, it’s time you putt like a true athlete. An athlete fills his mind with a picture of the target (and nothing else), then reacts. See hole, knock ball in hole. It’s that simple. Here’s how to tame your nerves and make short work of short putts, in three easy steps.


Find a straight, uphill three-footer. Set up to a ball normally, then rotate your head to the left. Lock your eyes on the back of the cup—really zero in. Without moving your head or losing your focus, stroke the putt.


Repeat step 1 with a second ball, but before you begin your stroke, turn your head back to its normal position and close your eyes. See a vivid image of the hole. Got it? Great. Now react! Roll the ball into the cup that’s etched in your mind.


On a third putt, use your standard routine, but tap into the clarity of mind you found in step 2. With your eyes on the ball, see the cup in your mind’s eye. Let go of the “how,” embrace the “where”—and brush it in!