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Be ready to make every putt

February 2012

Before you take your address, while you're still reading the putt, imagine the ball tracking on the line you've chosen and falling into the cup. If you don't believe you can make every putt, why bother trying?

Unless it's a dead-straight short putt, you should focus on a spot somewhere along the line you want to roll the ball on. When the time comes to make your stroke, if you're still aware of the hole, it could distract you from your goal of rolling the ball on the correct line. Your brain will try to get you to steer the ball toward the hole.

You should never get set over the ball and then aim your putterface. If you do it in that order, you can easily lose sight of your intended line. Instead, aim the face down your line first, then settle your body into position.

When you take your address, stand so your left eye (for right-handed players) is directly over the ball. This ball position will help you start the putt on line--and make a perfect strike for a smooth roll.

Right before I start the putter back, I think about making solid contact. This brings your attention to the back of the ball and helps keep your head still at impact, which is a must. Many amateurs take a peek down the line too soon, and that can cause all sorts of mis-hits.

Ernie Els has won 64 professional tournaments worldwide, including 18 on the PGA Tour and three majors.

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