Putting is 1/2 the game of golf. 36 of the 72 strokes to par are putts. Count ‘em. If you can 2-putt every green, you’re playing 1/2 the game at even par.

To putt well, you must master distance and direction. Direction is easy, just aim at the hole, allow for some break, and almost always, the line of your putt is good enough. Distance is the bug-a-boo. leaving the ball short of the hole, or blasting it too far past the hole, or most dreaded of all, misjudging the break and getting bad distance and direction.

Here are a couple of tips.

Before every round of golf, spend 5 minutes on the practice green. Take 3 or 4 balls with you, and putt them back and forth between two holes 20 to 25 feet apart. Don’t try to make the putts. Close to the hole is what you want. Try to feel how hard you need to hit the ball to wind up close to the far hole. If you’re sensitive to it, you can feel a rhythm of how hard to make your back swing and how hard to swing through the ball to make it roll the exact distance you need.

Make sure that your back swing is long enough so you don’t have to force the putter head through the hitting stroke. But don’t make it so long that you wind up decelerating into the ball. Short putt…short back swing. Long putt,,,longer back swing.

Impress the good rhythm into your consciousness, into your computer brain. On the course, your brain will adjust the rhythm to allow for shorter and longer putts…15, 30, 35 feet. For really long putts, take one or two practice putts from 1/2 the distance to the hole. Then go to your ball, and practice hitting twice as hard as the halfway putts. It helps.

For more suggestions to improve your game, read HOW SHORT HITTING, BAD GOLFERS BREAK 90 ALL THE TIME, available on Amazon. $2.99 for the ebook, $9.99 for the paperback.

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