There was a gust of wind. The ball hit a spike mark. You chugged a beer at the turn. Make any excuse you like for missing a putt you should've made, but 99 percent of the time, there's one reason you missed: Your putterface wasn't square to your line at impact.
We sometimes unknowingly adjust the face to compensate for skewed vision, especially if you aim the putter after you've addressed the ball. You should set the face first, then take your address. To consistently square the face, learn what square looks like. Find a straight line and practice setting the face on a 90-degree angle to it. I often make practice strokes on the mower line where the fringe and green meet. If you learn to create a square face, you'll make more putts.
Rick Smith, a Golf Digest Teaching Professional, is based at Treetops Resort in Gaylord, Mich.