Did you know that 40 to 45 percent of all the shots played in a round of golf are on the putting green? Therefore, putting is a critical aspect of the game.

Two judgment factors are involved in putting-distance and direction. Most golfers can see the direction well enough to get down in two putts most of the time. The majority of putts are missed because of miscalculated length. Thus, you can keep three-putts to a minimum by spending the majority of your practice time developing a feel for distance. This can be accomplished by several drills:

* Fringe putting-Practice putting the ball from one fringe green to the other, with no exact line in mind.

* Ladder drill-Mark spots with coins or tees in five-foot segments and practice stopping the ball exactly at that distance.

* Eyes closed-Same as the ladder drill, except with eyes closed.

By developing a consistent feel for distance, you are also improve your direction. The line of the putt is often determined by the pace. There can be four different lines on a five-foot putt, depending on how hard you hit it.

To be successful at sinking a putt of any distance, your mental and physical approach to every putt should be the same. Your routine should begin as you approach the green from the fairway. Be observant of the general lay of the land. Notice where your ball is on the green and in which direction the green is sloped. These elements can be very useful in determining the line and pace of your putt.

Once you have arrived at your ball, be a little more detailed in your observations. Look at the line from behind your ball or from behind the hole, preferably not in both directions. Often times, confusion sets in if you look from both directions. Look closely for any grain in the grass. Then move to the side of your line, about halfway between the hole and your ball, to help determine the distance and slope of your putt. Walk back behind your ball and make a final decision on the direction the ball needs to start.

Now prepare for the execution of the stroke. Take two or three practice strokes, keeping in mind the desired distance of the putt. The practice strokes are very important in determining a feel for distance. Visualize your ball rolling along the intended line as you practice swing. Relax as you address the ball-and execute.

And remember: Develop a sound putting method and practice it endlessly.