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Never up, never in
After a winter layoff or a few months without playing too frequently, this is the time of year when many of us start thinking in earnest about the new season and begin venturing out on the course again.

Often we discover that touch and judgement on and around the greens is the area of our game that has deteriorated most during the layoff, particularly in gauging the length of putts. But of the two elements concerned in putting - lenght and line, distance is by far the more important.

Most of us at some time have left a putt three, four or five feet short but we will rarely be the same distance wide of the target and this is why we should focus on getting the distance right. And more often than not if we are going to miss it will be because we're short rather than long.

So, both in practice and on the course, give yourself one simple instruction, that all of your putts are going to be past the hole, not short of it. You won't achieve your goal but striving towards it will mean that many more putts will at least have the chance of dropping because you will have made a firmer, more confident stroke.

Yes, 'Never up, never in' is a cliche but cliches often become such because they contain more than a grain of truth.

©    27 - MARCH 2003

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