Set up and go: Make more putts by speeding up your routine

It’s probably fitting that putting—the part of the game that features the shortest distance between the player and the target — is also the most mentally challenging. But while most players stand (and agonize) over their putts for a lot longer than they do their drives and iron shots, it doesn’t have to be that way.


Speeding up your putting game — in other words, shortening the time between address and takeaway — can actually make you a better putter. The advantage to such a fast routine is that it leaves no time for negative thoughts: You walk into the ball, take one glance at the hole, and go. Give it a try: You may just see your confidence on the greens soar.

STEP 1: SEE THE LINE

After reading the putt and determining the break, take three practice strokes while standing perpendicular to the hole (about three paces behind the ball) on an extension of the putt’s starting line. On your first two practice strokes, allow your eyes to trace the line, and then, on the final stroke, visualize the ball tracking on line and dropping into the hole.

Stand on an extension of the putt’s starting line as you make your practice strokes.

STEP 2: WALK THE LINE

Walk into each putt on the same line you want the ball to start on. For example: If the putt is going to break from left to right, approach the ball on the same line, walking diagonally to your left. This helps you set your body square to the line of the putt.

STEP 3: GET SET, GO

Once you reach the ball, set your putterhead down and take one last look at the hole to confirm that the face is square to the starting line. As soon as your eyes return to the ball, pull the trigger. Do not hesitate. If you’ve made the right read, the next sound you’ll hear is the ball falling into the cup.

Walk into the ball on the same line on which you want your putt to start. Then, take one last look at the hole and pull the trigger.

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