Leaving Approach Putts Short

I’m sure you’ve heard the old joke, “95% of all putts that come up short don’t go into the hole,” so I don’t have to say it here. Oh, wait… I just said it. Sorry.

If this is you, if you have a bad case of the Shorts, let me give you a cure.

You don’t leave thirty-foot putts short because you don’t judge distance well. If that were the case, you would be leaving them long, short, and in the middle. But they all seem to come up short.

What is likely going on is that you fear the putt going past the hole. You feel safer sneaking up on the hole. Even though you know five feet short is the same as five feet past, you are more comfortable with five feet short. The prospect of going five feet past just gives you the willies.

That’s fine. We don’t need to change that feeling. All I’m going to ask you to do is change the way you stroke the putt.

Even if you have the speed perfectly judged, at the last instant you flinch and pull back, hitting the ball softer than you had planned. What I want you to do is change the point of impact to take out that flinch.

You think now that the putter hits the trailing edge of the ball, the one next to the putter when you address the ball. And that’s true, it does.

What I want you to do instead is look at the leading edge of the ball, the one closest to the hole, and think about hitting that edge. Think that the ball is transparent to the putter and you will hit that edge when you hit the ball.

By doing that, you will hit the ball before you expect to. You won’t flinch because by the time you mind is ready for the “hit” sensation, the ball has already been struck.

The result? The ball gets to the hole and goes in. If it misses it goes maybe a foot or two past. And you didn’t hit it any harder. You might have hit it exactly as you had planned.

Give this a try. You have nothing to lose but four strokes.

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