How to Make Short Golf Putts - dummies

By Gary McCord

To really hone your golf skills when it comes to short putts (called knee-knockers), pressure is the key. You must create a situation in which missing that short putt hurts. You have to care about the result of every putt. If all you have to do after missing is pull another ball over and try again, you’re never going to get better. You don’t care enough.

So, put yourself under pressure, even if you only make yourself stay on the green until you can make 25 putts in a row. You’ll be amazed at how difficult the last putt is after you’ve made 24 in a row. It’s the same putt in physical terms. But you’re feeling nervous, knowing that missing means that you’ve wasted your time over the previous 24 shots. In other words, you’ll have created tournament conditions on the practice green. Now that’s pressure. Suck some air.

Because you don’t want the ball to travel far, the stroke should be short, which doesn’t give the putterhead much of an arc to swing on. But the lack of arc is okay. On a short putt, you don’t want the putterhead to move inside or outside the target line (at least, on the way back). So think “straight back, straight through.” If you can keep the putterface directly toward the hole throughout the stroke and you’re set up squarely, you’re sure to make more knee-knockers than you miss.

Knowing how short putting feels helps:

  1. Place a two-by-four on the ground and put the toe of your putter against the board.


  2. Move the putter back.

    Keep the toe against the board until after impact.


  3. Hit the putt.


    Keep the putterhead at 90 degrees to the board so the putter moves on the straight-back-and-straight-through path that you want.

  4. Practice this drill until you can repeat the sensation on real putts.

    Never allow the wrist on your lead hand to bend when putting. If you do, you’ll end up in putting hell.