Making more putts boils down to two things: 1) aiming the putterface in the direction you want the ball to start, and 2) rolling the ball at the correct speed. Here’s how to practice both.
1. Perfect Aim Practice
Hit the practice green and pick a target. Before even taking a proper grip, aim the face at your target, then place your hands on the handle. Now bring your body into the putter and settle into your stance. Check that your hands are hanging beneath your shoulders and that your shoulder and forearm lines are relatively parallel to your aim line. When you make your stroke, swing your arms naturally under your shoulder line. Of course, this only works if you get the aim part right. There’s no shame in practicing with a chalk line or other alignment aid. You have to nail this first.
2. Perfect Distance Practice
Set three balls on the green at three-foot increments from the hole. (Any straight putt will do.) Start at the shortest putt—you should make this one, but as you move farther back, the goal becomes more about controlling distance. Make practice strokes while looking at the hole to visually take in the distance. After draining the first, remain at each distance until you’re able to roll the ball to within two inches.
As you move back, begin increasing the size of your backstroke. Many weekend players make the mistake of trying to speed up their hands. Don’t. Stroke size controls distance—the longer it is, the faster the putterhead will move. Everything else stays the same. That’s why elite putters look so smooth regardless of putt length. With a little practice, you can too.
Kellie Stenzel teaches at the Boca Raton Resort & Club in Fla.