Putting to most non-golfers looks to be a very simple performance, but to most golfers it is a nerve-racking test that varies in results from day to day. A favorite expression regarding a beginner who is enjoying good results on the green is that he "hasn't yet found out how difficult putting is." Putting is assuredly one department of golf in which most players allow themselves to think too much about what they may do wrong, and this is what makes it so tough.

One positive approach to putting I would like to stress is this: first, be sure that you look at that "spot" on the ball which is directly behind the line to the hole. Try to imagine that a chalked line runs from the hole to that spot on the ball (allowing for the roll on this line, of course, when you do not have a straight putt). Then try to tap the ball crisply so that it will roll right on top of that chalked line to the hole.

Too much cannot be said about tapping the ball crisply. A lot of golfers have gotten off on the wrong track by having putting explained to them as a stroke in which no precise contact is made with the ball. Trying to stroke the ball fluidly, they tend to stroke it overgently, and the result is that they develop a push or pat stroke that has no conviction. Try tapping the putt. The ball must be hit smoothly but it must be hit.

from BILL ZONKER, Seattle Golf Club, Seattle

TWO PHOTOS ILLUSTRATIONTry to imagine that a chalked line runs from the ball to the hole

NEXT WEEK'S PRO: JIMMY HINES ON THE EXCESSIVE PIVOT

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)