1. GET IN THE FLOW
Putt instinctively and stay in your subconscious—see the line, step in and putt. No overthinking. The moment you let your conscious mind wander with thoughts like, “Am I rotating my hands too much through impact?,” you’re toast.
2. PAINT A PICTURE
Use your pre-putt time to visualize the ball rolling into the hole. Good putters are like artists—they draw a line, then putt right over it. Make the image as vivid as possible. Your mechanics will follow.
3. EMBRACE YOUR FLAWS
Nobody’s perfect. You can watch me and think, “His backstroke is awful.” But if I’ve rehearsed my stroke enough and can square the face at impact, who cares? Repeating the stroke you have until it’s consistent—rather than trying to chase mechanics—will lead to more makes.
4. PUTT LIKE A KID
Go back to when you played in childhood. You learned to roll the ball with feel, because you weren’t old enough to start overthinking your mechanics. Go as far as using the same type of putter—mallet, blade, whatever—that you used as a kid. That’s what I did, and I bagged a U.S. Open.
5. IF YOU WANT TO WORK, WORK ON POSTURE. . .
Build a stance that allows you to see the line without any distortion. I do it by practicing with a stick on the ground. I point the stick at the hole, square my stance to it, then adjust my posture until it looks like the stick is pointing straight at the cup. Simple.
6. …OH, AND YOUR GRIP
There are hundreds of ways to hold the club, but the best grips keep your wrists firm throughout the stroke. You don’t want any wrist breakdown, or you’ll pull the putt left. Focus on your thumbs. Move them around the handle until you feel stability in your wrist joints. I feel stable when my thumbs are just off-center.
7. READ SLOPE WITH YOUR FEET
Walk around the area behind your ball, and sense with your feet the point at which you go from walking downhill to uphill, or vice versa. That’s the AimPoint system’s inflection point. If your ball is right of the inflection point, the putt will break left. If it’s left of that point, it’ll break right. And the further you are from the inflection, the more the putt will break.
8. PRE-READ THE GREENS
I’m old school. I walk every green before an event. I make notes, so my reads during actual rounds are often from memory. It’s a powerful feeling to be that prepared, and it’s easy to do if you have a “home” course.
9. LISTEN, DON’T LOOK
Good putters don’t peek. Focus on the back of the ball and release the putter, as I like to say, “under your eyes.” It’ll stop pushes and pulls in a heartbeat.
10. ERR ON THE LONG SIDE
Try to hit every putt with enough force that if the ball misses, it’ll end up 17 inches past the cup. At this pace, you’ll never come up short, and putts on the edge will drop in instead of lipping out.