When your putting goes south, what's the first fundamental to try and improve? Restore good rhythm to your stroke.
Here's a simple cadence to practice. When you make a stroke, think per-fect pace—three syllables. It's like a pendulum ticking two beats to one. When you take the putter back, think per-fect. When you swing the putter through, think pace. Whether your stroke is long or short, the rhythm should stay the same every time.
Using this cadence will help you strike the ball solidly, and smoothly. It helps eliminate any jerky or abrupt motions that can affect ball speed or the orientation of the putterface at impact, especially on longer putts. You won't feel like you need extra effort to get the ball to the hole.
One more piece of advice: Instead of worrying about the importance of making a putt, shift your thoughts to how you're going to do it. Focus on the process, not the outcome.
Chris Mayson, director of instruction, Maderas Golf Club.