Make More Putts
Take a moment and imagine this scenario. First, you hit a beautiful drive right down the middle of a short Par 5 and have just an iron into the green. You grab your 7-iron and hit a nice baby draw leaving you a 30 footer for your eagle opportunity. Next, you hit your first putt with all that excitement but hit it ten feet by the hole. And I think we all know what happens now, we walk away from the perfect drive and approach shot only to 3-putt our way to a par. In any clubhouse the classic saying "putting separates the men from the boys" could not be more truthful. Putting can turn a bad ball striking day into a reasonably good score. But a bad day with the putter is almost always going to create frustration and higher scores regardless of how well you hit it. Therefore, as a golfer, you have to do everything you can to make putting as simple and repeatable as possible.
Practice with a Purpose
Putting practice may not be all that glamorous but the professional golfer at your club is most likely spending most of his time on the putting green and less time hitting balls. Furthermore, the way a professional practices putting is always procedural, consistent, and competitive to keep practice fun. The first thing to do after you do your warm-up routine is to start a block practice and work on your stroke. Many players are using training aids nowadays or using tees to make a gate. When you start this practice it is preferred to find the straightest 4 foot putt you can find. Then from there put down a chalk line so you have a good visual of how the ball actually rolls on the line. You can find a chalk line at any hardware store and it will make a big difference in your putting. This also influences face aim exponentially because you can see exactly where the line on your putter correlates with that chalk line. Consequently, this process will result in you making tons of putts which is a huge confidence builder. I would say making 50 putts in a row is a great way to start your practice with a training aid to help you through it. Lastly, be sure to get competitive with yourself and make it feel like real course pressure. Choose a hole on the green with moderate difficulty and put the balls around the cup in a six foot circle. Depending on your skill level try to go around the circle without missing. If you miss a putt you have to start over, but if you succeed see how many you can go and have an all time record.
Control Your Speed
One factor that is worth controlling on the putting green is your speed. Even if you read the perfect amount of break, line up your putter just right, and have a great stroke, those factors will do you no good if you leave it short. Unfortunately, there is not a universal speed for every green on every course. If that was the case, the masters would be a boring tournament to watch because the pros would make everything. Therefore, each time we get to the course we have to practice our speed before we play so we minimize three putts and make more birdies. Many players do this by placing a ball at 10,15, and 20 feet away from the edge of the green and putting to the start of the fringe. Doing this 10 times through will surely give you an idea of the green speed if you do it on uphill and downhill.
Find the Right Flatstick
Maybe besides a good dog there's not a closer relationship than a man and his putter. Vise versa, if the putter does not fit your body or stroke your putter may also be at the bottom of a lake where it belongs. But that's where its nice to live in the 21st century where putter fitting has never been more in depth and you have access to thousands of different options. The best course of action is to find a knowledgeable putter fitter such as the club pro at your home course or IndyPuttLab in Zionsville who specialize in putting. The fitter will find the best putter based off your body make up, stroke type, and feel preference. Once you have the right set up you now can be confident that when you missed that 4 footer it was the Indian and not the arrow.
At the end of the day if you practice with a purpose, control your speed, and have the right putter, you will be well on your way to putting like a tour professional.