Unless your mental game is utterly perfect, chances are short putts make your palms sweat. It goes against all logic, right–the short putt should be easy, the long putts should be the ones that give you stress. Just three feet to put the ball in the hole; why should that be so hard? However, something about the raised stakes of a short putt never fails to quicken the heart rate of amateurs and pros alike.
Worry less about how to make short putts
It is possible to conquer that natural anxiety and learn how to make short putts without worrying about the end result. You can do so with what’s called the “putt and listen” drill. The key: keeping your body totally motionless throughout the swing, except for your arms. By taking your concern off of where the ball goes and placing it entirely on the mechanics of your swing, you limit your mind to only what you can control and neutralize the what-ifs.
Professional tips for how to make short putts
Golfers all have their secrets for success and preferences for how to make short putts. Whether it’s an internal metronome or positive affirmations before stepping up to putt, it’s largely up to each specific golfer.
If you find that you haven’t yet discovered the method that works best for you, PGA Professional Joseph Hallett recommends you practice the “putt and listen” drill to hone your thinking and concentrate on what matters. The idea is very simple: putt several three- to five-foot putts in a row, only moving your arms and the club each time. Don’t look up to see whether the ball went in, don’t move your body in the direction of the hole; if it goes in, you’ll hear it. That noise should give you the confidence on your next putt, and the ones after that.
Training your mind and your body on how to make short putts begins with remaining stable and developing a feel for the distance.