By Paul Myers

On the first playoff hole of the Open, Emiliano Grillo had a short putt to clinch the title – his first on the PGA Tour. While the putt was around four feet in length, it was one that most amateurs would expect to make, and certainly every Tour pro would plan on knocking right in the back of the hole. Of course, with tremendous pressure comes nerves, and Grillo missed the putt slightly to the left. Fortunately, he was able to rebound and successfully win the tournament on the next hole. However, such second chances don’t always come along in golf, so making your short putts when you have the chance is a key skill to possess.

So what can you do to make sure you knock in as many of those short putts as possible during your next round? Following are three tips which will hopefully make the short ones fall in a little easier.

#1 – Pick a Specific Target

Most players think that the hole itself is their target when they line up a short putt. While you obviously want the ball to end up in the bottom of the hole, you need a more specific target if you are going to be successful. Instead of just aiming at the hole, pick out a very specific spot on the ground. By rolling your ball over that spot, you should be able to put the putt on line to go in. It will help your mind to focus on something very specific and defined, rather than just the hole itself. Get a good read on your putt and pick a spot that will allow for the ball to take any break that may be present before falling in.

#2 – Short Backstroke

Making a long backstroke is a great way to cause problems in your short putting game. Instead of letting the club drift farther and farther away from the ball in the backstroke, keep things tight and only go back a few inches or so. After all, you need very little power to push the ball to the hole, so there is no point in making a long stroke. As long as you maintain good rhythm throughout the putting stroke, you should be able to start the ball on line time after time by keeping your stroke short.

#3 – Light Grip Pressure

Gripping the putter too tightly is probably the leading cause of missed short putts. To make your short putts consistently, the putter head needs to swing through the ball freely – and that won’t happen if you are squeezing the putter at any point during the stroke. Focus on maintaining a light grip pressure from address all the way through the finish so that the putter can gently roll the ball towards the hole. It will take some practice to become comfortable using a lighter grip pressure, so work on this technique on the practice green before using it on the course.