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The Three Foot Putt
By Ed Harris, PGA
Senior Teaching Professional
Kapalua Golf Academy

This month's tip covers the dreaded 3-foot putt. Although this is one of the most frequent shots played, it is one of the most feared. As a matter of fact, studies show that the fear of missing is one of the main reasons this shot is missed so often. Although no one makes 100% of these shots, this month's tip will help you make the 3-foot putt with increased confidence and success.

When dealing with this shot, there are three things the player must do:

  Be absolutely certain that the putter face is aimed at your intended target. This sounds overly simple, but you'd be surprised how many putts are missed because the face was not pointed directly at the target.
  Make your target specific. Aim at something definite, a blade of grass or spot on the hole. The theory is that if your target is the entire hole, a quarter inch left or right of that target will result in a miss. If your target is a blade of grass on the cup, your margin for error is much greater. You can miss that target by an inch or two and still hole the putt. Unless the break is extreme, pick a target inside the hole.
  Stroke the ball hard enough to go 12-18 inches past the hole. When you hit the ball hard enough to go 12-18 inches past the hole it is less likely to be affected by such things as spike marks, grains of sand or other impurities that might deflect the ball. A ball that is accelerating to the hole will hold its line much better than a ball that "dies" at the hole.

Give these tips a try and you'll see improvement in your play and your score. Remember, this is one of the most frequent shots in a typical round of golf, so practice it regularly. Good luck and have fun!

Tips Archive

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