Spend 15 minutes on the practice green once a week rolling putts from 40 50 and 60 feet (common first-putt distances among mid-handicappers). Hit three balls from each length getting a feel for how big each chip-putt motion should be in order to lag all nine putts within that imaginary circle.
Missing greens isn’t all bad. It depends on where you miss them. You can often get back in the hole with your basic pitch or chip. It’s the tough lies to watch out for the ones that test your finesse and precision.
Don’t try to “make” 30-plus footers. Instead imagine that the hole is in the center of a circle that’s six feet in diameter and leave your lag inside that circle. This removes the pressure to make it so you’ll putt with more feel and less tension in your hands.
I’ve hit my third shot on a par 5 long and left putting me in thick rough on top of a mound. A standard pitch won’t do here—the ball will hit and scoot down the green’s slope and end up a good 30 feet past the pin. I’d be looking at a two-putt bogey at best.
A high soft shot that stops quickly on the green is a crucial addition to your short-game arsenal. Greens are getting faster and courses are more apt than ever to cut pins close to trouble.