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Make A Decisive Stroke

Good putting requires complete conviction

November 2011

Here's a simple drill to inspire confidence for holing more putts. It's also a good lesson for beginners to get a feel for the ball going in the hole. Start by holing a one-foot putt. Then increase the distance by one foot until you miss: Go to two feet, three feet and so on.

See how far back you can go until you miss. When you do miss, start over at the one-foot distance. Try it on breaking putts as well as uphill and downhill putts. If you get out to eight feet without missing, pat yourself on the back.

If you're struggling to get past two or three feet, try to clear your mind of too many thoughts, and just concentrate on making a firm, decisive stroke -- accelerating the putterhead through the ball. The more you make, the more confident you'll be when you leave the practice green.

WATSON, a Golf Digest Playing Editor and the golf professional emeritus at The Greenbrier, in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.

When deciding on how to play a hole and making your club selections, instead of focusing on par, focus on the hole's yardage. For instance, when a par 4 is longer than 400 yards, it plays like a par 5 for many golfers. Consider that it can be good strategy to keep it in play by hitting three unforced iron shots and still have a par putt.

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