So you miss a 5-foot putt, silently curse yourself, then try again from the same spot. Make it every time, don’t you? Why is that? Partly because the pressure of making a putt that counts is gone, no doubt. But having already hit it once, you know the speed and break when you try it again.
Odds are, you practice the same way. Maybe you drop three balls on the green, maybe a dozen, then proceed to hit every last one to the same hole. You finish the first series and repeat. That’s fine for reinforcing mechanics, but it does little to enhance your feel.
For the first few minutes of each practice putting session, go ahead and groove your stroke by hitting several balls to a single location. Then put all but one ball back in your bag.
Now, circle the green hitting a single putt at a time, always to a different cup, from a different distance and on a different slope. Hit a short one followed by a long one. Then reverse the order.
Practice extreme putts – a super-slick downhiller or monster sidehill putt, for instance – that you’re unlikely to ever encounter on the course. You’ll develop hyper-sensitive touch and feel and learn to “feed” the ball across sharp breaks to the edge of the cup.