It is perhaps the supreme irony in golf that the simplest shot in the book seems to cause the biggest problem to the largest number of golfers. Let's face it, the putt is the only golf shot that it is really possible to execute flawlessly without any tuition at all. We all start off doing this as kids. Some of us are even superb at it at this young age.
It is this shot that is often the spur that leads to a lifelong addiction to this wonderful game of golf. What then, goes wrong? How can this easiest of golf shots become the absolute bane of an adult golfer's life? Sorry to say, there is no easy answer. Experts are just as baffled as inexperienced amateurs over this one. The saying 'it's all in the mind' was probably never more true than in this golfing case.
Several years ago, an American company developed a golf putting machine. They carried out tests in optimum putting conditions and were gob-smacked to discover that their pride and joy couldn't hole every putt. They took that machine apart and tweaked every element of it until they were certain that it was in perfect working order. And, guess what? It still failed to hole some putts. If this doesn't go to prove that there is at least an element of 'black art' about golf putting, then nothing will.
The best lesson to take from the above is that you really never are going to achieve putting perfection. If a machine in perfect working under operating under perfect putting conditions fails to hole every golf putt, then a human being with all his or her imperfections never is. So, the first rule is, stop giving yourself such a hard time whenever you miss a few putts. It happens to even top professional golfers. In fact, any problem you have with putting is much more likely to be psychological than physical, so the very last thing you should be doing is getting down on yourself mentally; this can only make matters worse.
Is there anything you can do if you really do have severe, regular putting problems? Well, apart from working on the mental side of things to inculcate strong belief that you really can putt (try some self-hypnosis tapes etc.) the best advice is to see if a change of putter will do the trick. Take your lead from the professionals. So many professional golfers who've suffered terribly from the 'yips' on the putting green, such as Bernhard Langer, found their salvation in the broom handle putter - maybe you should give one a try. .