Afterwards I found this really useful post on short putts. It contains a useful drill, but what hit home was the statement (backed up by tour stats) the player that putts the best inside 8-10 feet during the tournament usually wins. Ergo (like that touch of logic?) getting on the green inside that range is crucial. Equally so is sinking the short putt. Translating this for a high handicapper who is realistically happy to be on the green in regulation rather than near the hole, I’d say that you don’t expect to hole a long first putt (although sometimes you will) but it has to be in the ‘golden circle’ – or even closer - to make sure of holing the second.
I think it was Nick Faldo who first recommended putting into the radius of a dustbin lid rather than aiming at the hole. It’s a theory that has been derided (FFS just aim for the hole!) but it does make some sense. Yes, of course you aim for the hole, but don’t expect it to go in. Anywhere close (I’d prefer a dainty dustbin myself ) will do. If every now and then it does go in (and it will) that’s a bonus, the icing on the cake.
In the end, despite my putting ineptitude, we won that match, but maybe it would have been better (for my golfing soul) if we had lost.
Then instead of sitting here theorizing, I might be out on the green getting in some practice.