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How to Reduce the Chances of 3 Putts on a Hole
by Alex Fir

Practice these steps in order to reduce the chances of 3 putts on a hole and missing very short putts less than two feet in length:

- If you are missing the hole to the right or left, opening or closing the face of the putter head at impact, you need to get the putter swinging straight back and forth on short putts.

Pick a flat spot on your practice green and line up some quarters or other coins on either side of the hole for about 12 inches, just like runway lights at an airport. The coins should be about ¼ of an inch wider than the width of your putter head, on either side.

Now, with your golf ball just outside this one-foot runway, your goal is to putt the ball through the line of quarters without touching any. When you can do this ten times in a row, you're doing well.

This exercise is just to stroke the ball purely so that you do not hit any of the coins. You can also practice this at home on your carpet and putt into a glass, or a plastic (or aluminum) putting cup, available at any golf store.

The reason for the coins is to let your eyes see more of a tunnel or line to the hole. Do it enough times and your mind will start seeing this line when you're really playing on the course.

- The next secret is very simple but effective. You won't believe it until you try it for a couple of weeks.

You don't need a golf ball for this one, just your putter. Practice miniature strokes.

Take the club-head back 3 inches and then, on the follow through, go only 3 inches past where the ball would be. Use a "straight back and straight through" motion, but do it as slowly and as smoothly as possible. It is even better if you can practice this against a wall, a 2 x 4 piece of wood, one of your clubs lying on the putting green or anything else that has a straight solid edge to it.

You must be sure that your stroke is touching the wall or whatever you're using on the back-swing and follow-through. This will help straighten your putting stroke.

- When someone is not putting well, they are moving their head to the left or right during the stroke. It is okay to not move your head at all when your putt, just as it is okay for your eyes to follow the path of the ball after you hit it, as long as your head is stationary, not shifting to the left or right.

One way to check this is to have a friend hold a golf club against the left side of your head (right side for a left-handed player), while you are practicing putting. If you feel yourself pressing against the club on the follow-through, you need to keep your head more still. An even better way is to get someone to take a video of you putting from all angles with a camcorder. This will show you what is really happening.

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