How to Make More Putts from 5 Feet & In

Four Putting Skills to Avoid Missing Short Putts

Are you looking to spend time on your golf game that produces immediate results? Look no further than the humble short putt. Improvement in this area alone can take your golf game to the next level and help you keep your sanity on the course. Chip it close and miss no more.

What actual skills are the most important in making more short putts? I will go through what my experience as a player, LPGA T&CP Instructor, and College Golf Coach have taught me and provide you with ideas on how to improve.

What is the average make percentage of putts inside of 5′ this year on the PGA Tour? 96.85% of the time, PGA Tour golfers make putts 5 feet and in. Right now, how many putts could you make out of 100 all around the hole from 1-5 feet? If you need more clarification- that is an excellent place to begin!

That tells me that becoming a good short-distance putter can be learned through fundamentals and focused practice.

Here Are My Top 4 Skills for Putting Inside of 5 Feet:

1) Being able to read the putt (usually, the read is “inside the hole” on shorter ones).

2) Being able to aim the putter face where you want.

3) Keeping putting stroke short to short in total length.

4) Listen to the putt drop in the hole. (The best sound there is.)

Here are 3 step-by-step practices that you can utilize to help you develop these skills:

Practice Drill 1: A little help from a friend.

What you need: A straight putt and an alignment stick.

*Make sure to constantly move to avoid leaving marks on the green (or step on your towel instead)

The stick goes on the top edge of the putter and leads straight along the hole’s right edge. Being able to putt with this aid on the ground provides instant visual putting stroke feedback.

Why is this helpful? It helps train the eyes and helps the stroke stay simple without much opening and shutting of the putter face.

Practice Drill 2: I feel the need for speed.

Goal: Speed drill, three speeds, and make a 4′ putt on each speed on purpose.

*Make sure to constantly move to avoid leaving marks on the green (or step on your towel instead)

Even though these are short putts, speed control matters as much as lag putts. A putt goes in the hole more than one way, and being able to “call” the putt helps confidence and feel!

What this looks like: Determine speeds 1, 2, and 3. Speed 1: The ball barely drops into the cup. Speed 2: The putt is made with perfect speed. Speed 3: The ball hits the back of the cup and goes in.

Alternate all three speeds until you can make putts with your desired speed.

Practice Drill 3:  Make, make, and make some more.

Goal: to make 25 in a row from 4′. Or for 30 min (whichever comes first!). When this becomes easier for you, keep the time the same, but then make 35 in a row and move the distance up to 3 feet or back to 5 feet.

Why is this helpful? Repetition, focus, and a little bit of pressure.

Through all of these practice sessions, note how you react. Can you start over with a fresh mindset? Can you let a miss go? Or does it continue to bother you? This will help prepare you for a better perspective on the golf course after a make or a missed putt- you still need to head to the next tee confidently and stripe it down the middle.

Final thoughts on making more putts 5 feet and in.

Knowing that you can/will make that 4-footer means you have less pressure on chipping it close or hitting your lag putt ‘perfectly.’ Have you ever played against a golfer who made EVERYTHING? It is a frustrating experience… unless you’re the one making all of them!


Written by Emily Kuhfeld, Former D1 Golfer & Collegiate Head Golf Coach Logo