Short putts are the ones from four feet and under. They’re the ones you just have to sink and are so afraid of not sinking. So you miss. Is that you? That was me. Here’s how I solved the problem.
The hole is a negative space. We’re trying to hit the ball at something that isn’t there. How can you hit something that isn’t there? That doesn’t make sense to me. What does make sense is to hit the ball at something that is there. That gives our mind something positive to aim at, something much easier to hit.
Whenever I practice short putts, I put a water bottle in the hole, and practice hitting the bottle. It’s so simple it should be a crime. Really. You can’t miss. Instead of trying to ease a ball into a tiny opening in the ground, you’re aiming at the broad side of a barn and actually hitting it. There’s a real target to aim at, and that takes off all the pressure. Try it.
Best of all, you will never see the ball roll past an empty hole. Never. That implants a wonderful affirmation: “I never miss the hole.” Now your conscious mind might say, “That’s because you never hit at one!” but we don’t listen to that mind. We’re training the subconscious mind, which knows only black and white. If it never sees the ball miss the hole, it comes to believe, “I never miss.”
After you’ve practiced this way for long enough, the image of an object sticking out of the hole sticks with you. When you’re playing, even though you’re looking at an empty hole, you see the bottle sticking up out of it. In your mind, the task becomes, hit the bottle. If you do, since there’s really no bottle there, the ball goes in the hole. Simple.
If the short ones give you fits, if you’d rather putt from six feet than two, try putting at a bottle on the practice green for a few sessions. Warm up this way before you play, too. It will change everything.