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Is there anything more frustrating in the game of golf than missing short putts? You have done all the hard work to put yourself in a position to bank a par or birdie and you blow it. These missed putts are the ones that you can have nightmares about later that evening. How can I miss that? You silently scream. These are bitter pills to swallow during a round of golf. Missing makeable putts is the most annoying aspect of golf. You know that you coulda, shoulda, woulda have sunk this putt but you bummed out and blew it.

Why We Miss Short Putts

Sometimes these putts horseshoe out of the hole, meaning they were not quite online at the speed and break played. At other times, your ball does not even touch the hole and you know that you have messed up in terms of speed and break.  The closer we get to the hole, say within four feet, our expectation of sinking the putt increases exponentially. We are, however, faced with a decision whether to aim at the centre of the cup and strike the putt firmly or play the break. No putt is the same of course and short putts can occur on wicked slopes within the green. Falling in between these two poles can be why we miss short putts.

Famous Short Putts Missed

We have watched touring professionals on the PGA circuit miss short putts, which have cost them titles and loads of cash. It is the unlikely nature of these misses that make them memorable for all the wrong reasons. Famous short putt misses include Doug Sanders missing a three-foot putt to win the Open Championship at St Andrews in 1970. Jack Nicklaus would go on to win that event in an 18-hole playoff the next day. More recently, Brooks Koepka missed several short putts in the final round of the US PGA at Kiawah Island to help Phil Mickelson to victory.

If you have played golf, you have more than likely missed your fair share of short putts. Putting has been described as a game within a game. Rolling a ball across a manicured green over a short distance to a hole four times its size should be a bankable result, right? Wrong unfortunately, we have to concentrate upon these moments as much or more than big drives or delicate chips. A failure to pay enough attention to the short putt is a popular cause for the higher handicapper to miss these putts. The better and more experienced golfers know that concentrating over these putts is vital for achieving good scores on course.

The yips are all about missing short putts and are so named because of the sufferer’s inability to master a twitchy nervous response to mastering fine motor skills under assumed pressure. The whole missing short putts phenomena manifests mental pressure upon the golfer and the yips can result. Golf is a repetitive game, and these repetitions can be both bad and good in terms of the desired outcome. Learning to deal with pressure is an important element within the game of golf, especially during competition.

Tips for Making More Short Putts

Practice your putting and practice sinking short putts from a variety of angles and directions. Trust in your technique and it will serve you well under pressure. Good golfers’ practice and train their short games twice as much as their long game. Mentally it is essential that you do not let missed short putts get you down. Do not overly focus on negative results during a round. Know what you did incorrectly but move on without rancour. In my experience, putting improvements, often, happen incrementally. Therefore, it is advisable to monitor your putting performances over a period of time. We all can have bad days on the greens and, so, do not get too down on yourself in reaction to these poor days with the putter. Ultimately, scoring on the golf course comes down to putting and sinking putts. If you love the game of golf, you must come to terms with your putting.

Make More Short Putts

  • Be decisive with your short putt strategy
  • Don’t get caught in-between playing break & firm putts
  • Trust in your technique
  • Practice short putts from a multitude of angles
  • Do not dwell on poor putts during a round
  • Learn from them & move on
  • Read the direction of the grain of the green
  • Learn to deal with the pressure of the moment


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