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Be positive over those knee-jangling short putts.

When the pressure is on, a tricky three to four-foot putt is probably one of the most unnerving shots in golf. Watch any of the top players and you will see that they don't try to die the ball into the hole but roll it positively into the hole (Tiger Woods being one of the best examples of this).

If you aim at the centre of the hole, and strike the putt firmly, it helps to eliminate some of the break on the putt, and if it does break you've given yourself around a tolerance of approximately four inches on the line of the putt.

Remember, if you do miss a short putt don't get annoyed with yourself as even the best players in the world miss short putts. With so many variables against you such as uneven surface and weather conditions, even the shortest putts are never dead certs!

Here are a few pointers and practice drills to help you feel more at ease over a short putt and hole out more often:

When standing over a short putt, stay relaxed with a nice light grip pressure. Try hovering the putter to encourage a smoother take away.

A good practice drill to help you become more confident with short putts is to place a ball on each point of the compass around the hole, approximately three feet away. Try to hole all four balls consecutively and if successful replace all the balls and try again, taking count of how many balls you hole before you fail.

When you miss one start again and try to beat your score. Set yourself a target score and try to beat it. This type of goal and target setting will help to recreate the same feeling of pressure that you will experience when you are standing over a match-winning putt on the course.

Give this a go, stay relaxed and positive. Good luck!
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 12, 2006
Words:320
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