Keep it Simple
I suppose you'd have to say that one of the main reasons for my putting success is that I've tried to always keep my method simple. Leaning over the ball, I don't think precise or mechanical thoughts. I just stay loose, comfortable and easy. I think of the pace I want the ball to travel, then picture how far to the right or left the ball should travel around the hole. Think of it this way: the object is to see how close you can come to the hole every time. The bonus is when, and if, the ball falls. Putting is an entirely personal sort of thing and I believe it should be your own. There is really no right or wrong way to stand or set up. If you follow the sport, you know there have been many successful putters with radically different methods.
I will, however, share with you some helpful guidelines: First, get comfortable and relaxed. Consistent putts stem from consistent, solid strikes on the middle of the clubface. A solid hit is something you can usually hear and feel. So don't change your stroke too often, just try to meet the ball solidly. Make sure your tempo is even--back and through. Whether that tempo is fast, slow or in between, it's important to think of the back swing and swing through the ball. Don't be so anxious to see the results--stay down through the putt. I'll let you in on a secret--seven times out of ten, the reason I hit a bad putt is that I was too eager to see what happened to the ball. It's a natural impulse. By following these few simple guidelines... and remembering that the object is to see how close you can get to the hole... you should see marked improvement on the greens.
The Bunker Shot
There is no reason at all to fear bunker shots! I would much rather be in the bunker than the rough around greens, because the possibilities of the outcome are much more predictable (rough grass takes all the spin off the ball when meeting the clubface). For a straight forward bunker shot with anything that resembles a decent lie, adopt the following guidelines for a proper stance: Take a little bit wider stance than a normal short pitch. This will give you a little more "anchor," for this swing should be used largely with the wrists, arms and shoulders creating a shallow blow -- not a steep descent.
Have a perceptible bend in the knees. Using the ankles and the knees adds crispness and control to the shot. Remember, when you accelerate the club head through the ball, you will add the authority this shot demands.
Lay the face of the wedge off a bit. As this shot needs to be spanked off the sand, there is no need for digging! The reason for this is the leading-edge of the club will enter the sand and get out quickly. SPANK the sand, SPLASH the sand, SKIM the sand behind the ball, but don't HOE it. Hoeing need only be applied if the ball is buried.
Aim a little to the left with the feet and body. This naturally creates an outside swing path which is needed to create a little loft to the shot.
Now, let your wrists break up a little quicker than normal -- pick that spot behind the ball that you want the club to enter -- and above all else, accelerate the down-swing. And, FOLLOW THROUGH! Your shots should be a little more consistent and should have more authority to them. PRACTICE these tips and they should shave a few strokes off your score.