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Collin Morikawa: I see amateur golfers make this putting mistake 'all the time'

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Late last year, Collin Morikawa took a good look at his putting and realized something needed to change.

"I didn't know what I was doing," he said. "I'd have good weeks and I didn't know why, and I'd have bad weeks and I didn't know why."

So, Morikawa got serious.

RELATED: Morikawa's 7 tips for being a smarter golfer

He hired Stephen Sweeney as his putting coach and the pair set about making some changes. There's still work to be done, by all accounts he's been trending in the right direction: He's up 20 spots to 113th in strokes gained/putting, and he's into the top third on tour in approach putt performance—a key measure for lag putting.

I recently did a Tour Pro Tutor putting episode with Collin Morikawa, and there was lots of interesting things to come out of it. But there was one thing, above all else, I found particularly interesting ...

The practice putting stroke mistake

One of the changes Morikawa made to his putting came during his routine: He ditched practice strokes and instantly found it helped his distance control on longer putts.

The problem with practice strokes—and the one he sees amateur golfers make all the time—is that they get too focused on their body rather than their target. They try to replicate their practice stroke instead of reacting to the target, and prevent their natural sense of feel from taking over.

"I got so focused on what my arms were doing, what the putter was doing," Morikawa says. "I lost all sense of where the target was. I see amateur golfers do this all the time."

So that's why Morikawa ditched the practice strokes. Instead, he followed the Cam Smith model of taking one long look at the target instead. That helped him keep focus more freely on where he wanted to go, not what he was trying to do.

If you feel like you need to take practice strokes, just make sure to keep your head up, looking at the target, to allow your natural feel to take over.

Once again, you can check out the full episode on Golf Digest Schools here!