By Paul Myers
As golfers, we all know the feeling of missing a short putt. It is everything you can do to avoid throwing your putter into the bushes after missing a short one, and you probably mutter a few choice words to yourself after tapping the next putt into the hole. Missing short putts is a frustrating way to add shots to your score, and there is really no way to recover those wasted strokes. Once missed, a short putt cannot be recovered.
Rock Solid from Short Range
It should go without saying that making as many of your putts from inside five feet as possible is a critical skill to have on the course. If you are able to confidently step up and knock in the majority of your short putts throughout the round, it will help you build confidence in addition to keeping your score on track.
Keeping track of this statistic for your own game isn’t quite as easy as it is for the professionals – since they have technology doing the work for them. However, you can still make notes on the scorecard regarding your performance from five feet and in. Every time you have one of these putts, make a mark on the card as to whether you made or missed it. If you wish, you could even do this after the round is over – it should be pretty easy to remember how you faired on the short putts during the round. Just like any other stat, add it up over time to see if this is an area where you are doing well, or if you could stand to improve.
A Shocking Stat
Speaking of the professionals, a look at the 2015 PGA Tour statistics for this category reveals something quite amazing. Lee Westwood, an accomplished player with a great track record of international performance, has yet to miss a single one of these putts! Over 12 rounds, he has faced 60 total putts from inside of five feet, and he has made each and every one of them. That is truly astounding, especially considering the quick and tricky greens often encountered on Tour. Beyond Westwood, there are a total of 20 guys who have made at least 98% of their putts inside five feet. If you want to know where you are wasting shots that the professionals don’t waste, this is a great place to start.
Making short putts is about two things – practice, and holding your nerve. Short putts tend to make golfers tense up, so work on relaxing your muscles in your hands and forearms to let the putter swing naturally. If you are able to hold your nerve on a consistent basis, and you spend enough time practicing these short putts, you can quickly increase your percentage made – and decrease your scores.