Everyday players waste too many strokes by missing three- to five-footers—short putts that you know you should make. Why? Blame bad alignment and a lack of focus, from the start of your pre-putt routine onward. But don't sweat it—you can fix the problem in 30 seconds using a standard yardstick. Just follow the three "rules of the roll" at right. You'll get the feedback you need to get the ball on line, while building a rock-solid pre-putt routine using the untapped power of visualization.
1. SQUARE UP: THE STICK IS YOUR GUIDE
Lay a yardstick on a flat area of the practice green (your kitchen floor will work, too). Place a ball in the peg hole on one end of the yardstick, then address the ball. Use the inch markings on either side of the stick to set the face square to your "line."
2. LOOK DOWN: PICTURE A PERFECT ROLL
Scan your eyes from the ball to the far end of the yardstick—visualize a straight-line roll right into the "hole." Then smoothly pull the trigger. Your goal: Re-create the straight roll embedded in your mind by motoring the putter straight down the yardstick.
3. ADJUST: STAY ON TRACK
If the ball rolls off the yardstick, you either pushed or pulled the putt, since your aim was perfect in Step 1. This is feed-back you can't buy! With a little practice, you'll instinctively nix the errors that cause you to miss from short range.