Just like it is with the full swing, it's easy for golfers to get sloppy while executing their putting strokes. By sloppy, I mean hitting the ball all over the putterface rather than striking the ball precisely on the sweet spot.
A reason for this sloppiness is the fact that putters get more and more forgiving each year. Face balancing, perimeter weighting and other mass-distribution systems allow golfers to miss the center of the putterface and still enjoy favorable results. However, these results don't come with necessary feedback.
The best method for learning any motor skill is trial-and-error-based practice. If you don't receive feedback as to where on the putterface you're striking the ball, it's impossible to improve your stroke. Feedback is the key to lasting improvement.
I like to practice putting with the toe of my putter. When you putt with the toe of your putter, you must make perfect, centered contact or the ball will carom off in an embarrassing number of directions. Next time you spend your valuable time practicing, practice like a pro–with purpose.
Former LPGA Tour player Debbie Steinbach instructs at The Reserve in Indian Wells, Calif.