It's not just a tired old saying: To cut strokes from your scores, you really do have to stop three-putting. The key to getting even very long putts down in two is speed control. If your speed is good, both on the first putt and the (hopefully) short follow-up, you'll walk away with a save. When I set up to any putt, I focus on the target, not down at the ball, to help me judge the distance. I take practice strokes looking at the hole to get a feel for the stroke length I need, especially on long putts, and I track the line with my eyes. On the short ones, I visualize where I want the ball to enter the cup, like right-center for a right-to-left breaker. The break totally depends on the speed you hit the putt. Here are two speed drills (below) I use a lot.
STOPPING POWER (above, left)
Set up two tees two feet apart, and putt uphill to them from 25 feet. Once you get three balls in a row to stop between the tees--or two out of three for starters--switch to a downhill putt of the same length, then sidehill. If I hit one outside the tees, I start over. It adds a little pressure.
KEEP THE CLUB LOW (above, right)
To avoid pulling up on short putts and hitting them weakly, I practice putting with only my right hand while my left hangs straight down. Trying to swing under my left arm like this helps me stay down and keeps the clubhead low to the ground. This ensures good contact and predictable speed.
PAULA CREAMER has nine wins on the LPGA Tour, including the 2010 U.S. Women's Open.