I'VE HAD THE PRIVILEGE of teaching many top-notch professionals and amateurs. If they had a putting problem, 90 percent of the time speed was at the root of it. We've all heard the expression, "This is a speed putt." Guess what: They're all speed putts.
Ever wondered why most tour pros read their own putts and go to the caddie just for confirmation? Only you, the player, knows how hard you're going to hit the putt or the pace at which you plan to roll it. That predetermined pace establishes the line, not vice versa.
The following 10-minute drills, which utilize a simple training aid you can make yourself, will help you develop good touch and feel for proper speed. In addition, you'll be better able to read the effects of slope on roll, aim the ball more accurately and develop a trigger to switch your focus from line to speed before you make your stroke. All of which will make you a better putter.
Hank Johnson is the 2004 PGA Teacher of the Year.