By Paul Myers

As a golfer, you naturally want to make every single putt you face. Seeing the ball drop into the cup after just a single stroke is a great feeling, and one-putting greens is a sure way to lower your scores in a hurry. Unfortunately, one putts are always going to be the exception rather than the rule. Putting is too difficult to expect to just walk onto the green and drain putt after putt with no trouble at all. You are going to be able to one putt a few greens throughout the course of a round, but it is really your ability to two putt successfully which will be more important in the end.

If you can manage to avoid any three putt greens for your entire 18-hole round, you will be doing your scorecard a major favor. Failing to three putt means you will make at least a par on each green you hit in regulation, and you will do no worse than a bogey if it takes you an extra stroke to find the green. So how do you secure these important two putts hole after hole, all day long? The following five keys will help.

#1 – Read the Speed First

Yes, you need to read the side-to-side break of your putts, but you first need to determine how fast or slow the putt will be as it tracks toward the hole. Evaluate not only the speed of the green and the distance of the putt, but also how much up or downhill the putt will be from start to finish. When you get the speed right on your first putt, you should have no trouble at all knocking the next putt into the cup.

#2 – Practice Your Three Footers

From long range, a lag putt to three feet or so is a good result. However, that second putt is not an automatic, so you need to be prepared to knock it in the hole. Spend some practice time working on your short putts at the end of each visit to the range.

#3 – Keep Your Head Still

One of the all-time classic golf tips is going to greatly help you in an effort to two putt more consistently. On both your long and short putts, do your best to keep your head nicely still throughout the stroke. By keeping your head still and your eyes focused on the ball, you should be able to make contact on the sweet spot of your putter time after time.

#4 – Be Patient

On your first putt on any green, you need to avoid the temptation to ram the ball toward the hole in an effort to make the putt. Yes, you would love to see the first putt fall in, but it would be a mistake to be so aggressive that you wind up with a difficult putt for your next attempt. Be patient, use the right speed, and leave the ball next to the hole for an easy tap in.

#5 – Be Smart with Your Approach Shots

Sometimes, the best thing you can do for your putting is to be smart with your approach shots. Rather than leaving your ball in a position where it will be difficult – or even impossible – to two putt, pick your targets wisely and give yourself a fighting chance on the greens.