In my opinion, making putts that are inside five feet is all about having confidence in your abilities. The best short putters in the world all have incredible confidence in their putting and their ability to drain short putts. Tiger Woods was, at one point, the best putter inside five feet in the world and that was because he had confidence in himself and his putting.
It all starts with your stroke. You must have a putting stroke that is easy to repeat, achieves the best results for you and that you are comfortable with. Your stroke can be any kind of method; straight back and through, inside-to-inside, out-to-in, whatever works for you. The important part is that you trust your stroke and know that you can make putts with it.
The second key to making short putts is to check your grip pressure. Most golfers get very tense over short putts because there is that expectation that your putt must go in the hole. There is a stigma of embarrassment associated with missing a short putt, but you have to put that to the side and not let it creep into your head when over a short putt. When addressing the ball, make sure your grip pressure is very light all the way through the stroke and impact with the ball. This really helps to make sure you are not getting too tense over the ball and trying to steer the ball in the hole.
The third key to making short putts is the KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN. I see so many amateurs lift their head up at impact or just before impact because they are too anxious to see if the ball is going in the hole. Lifting your head is the worst thing you can do because it alters your stroke and pulls your whole body away from the target. The best thing to do if you are having trouble with keeping your head down is to just listen for the ball to go in the hole. If you are within five feet of the hole, you will be able to hear the distinctive rattle of the ball falling in the cup, there is no need to lift your head. Practice keeping your head down until you hear the ball fall in the cup and then you can lift your head.
Finally, don’t get caught up in the stigma that is involved with missing a short putt. The best players in the world miss putts from inside a few feet all the time, it is going to happen. You just cannot let it shake your confidence in your stroke. Practice those three keys next time you are out on the putting green and then take it to the course with you next time you play and you will be on your way to better scores and fewer three putts.