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Poor putting can ruin more than your score – it can undermine your entire round. The next time you find yourself undermined by the shortest club in the bag, try the following fast and easy tips. Best of all, none of them require you to trade in your blade.

1. Develop a consistent pre-putt routine.

Many players feed off their emotion on a course, and this is most apparent on the greens. If you ever watch the pros, however, this is not a common tactic. It’s not that they don’t get angry: it’s just that they keep their emotions in check with a pre-shot routine. They then stick to that routine regardless of whether the putts are dropping.

There a million pre-putt routines; everything from taking off gloves to a 360 degree scan, ball mark and clean, etc., etc. What you do is entirely up to you, provided you can remember every part of it. (You also want to make sure you are fast enough to prevent fellow golfers from hating your routine.) But the key is to do it every single putt, on every single hole. By doing this, you’ll establish a rhythm and feel for the green that’s independent of the rest of your game.

2. If the breaks aren’t with you, try some grid work.

If you aren’t making the right reads of how your putt will break, take a moment and visualize a grid or net on top of the putting surface. How far do the lines deviate from a right angle? Can you now see more than one break? And how does your grid look closer to the hole, where the break will be more influential due to the deceleration of the ball?

Used properly, this visualization technique can get you past the intimidation of long putts. It can also get you to see breaks that you have previously missed.

3. If speed is the problem, practice with your eyes closed.

Take some time on a practice green and close your eyes while putting. Now, concentrate entirely on putting each ball with the same force as the last one. The goal is to make you concentrate on what’s truly important about putting – a consistent speed and roll – and to learn just how much force will produce how much roll.

Frequently, many players develop a disastrous one-putt or three (and more) pattern on the greens. Course management isn’t just important on the fairway; it’s also critical close to the cup. Closing your eyes on the practice green and focusing on distance is an effective antidote for the 1-or-3 virus. (Besides, when you start rolling them in with your eyes closed, you can really intimidate the rest of your group.)

4. Get your feet in line.

A common fault among poor putters is inconsistent or erratic footing. It’s an easy mistake to make, especially when you have the green to read. Square yourself to the putt in a consistent fashion, making sure that your left and right feet are parallel. This simple correction can make many of those pull and push putts a thing of the past.

5. Count your putts.

During and after your round, count how many putts you took. Many players will remember only the high and low points of their rounds, without taking into account the good (or not so good) remainder of their day.

Once you begin charting how many putts you are averaging over 18 holes, you can see how you are really doing on the greens. You can also start to be a little bit more scientific about lowering your scores. It may be that your putting is actually better than you think.