Cameron Smith’s approach to golf is a fundamental one: Do the simple stuff well, over and over again.

When it comes to preparing his putting before an important round — or any round, really — it means running through a simple checklist. Each task doesn’t take particularly long, and they’re not all that difficult, either. But each step of his preparation is specifically designed to get his putting in a place where he wants it, before hitting his course.

Earlier this season, at the 2022 U.S. Open, I kept a close eye on pre-round putting preparations to see what he did. You can watch me break it all down in the video above, but here’s a quick overview:

1. Mirror work

The most important part of Cam Smith’s putting preparations happens at the very start. Smith will set up over a short, straight putt (something inside 10 feet) with a mirror on the ground and a chalk line extending into the hole. Smith’s goal is simple: Making sure his eyes are over the ball, and that his ball is rolling down his intended target line.

“I practice with a mirror for probably 20 minutes a day,” he said after his Open Championship.

2. See some putts go in

Putting in many more of a mental skill than a physical one. To master it, you need confidence to overcome the missed putts, and belief that you’ll make the one after it.

That’s why part of his Smith’s pre- and post- round preparations involves practicing some makable short-to-midrange putts, as a way of increasing his confidence when he gets a birdie putt like this on the course.

“I spent a little bit of time on the green last night,” he said of his Saturday night preparations. “Just really wanted to see a few putts go in. Yeah, it turned out it was a pretty good thing to do.”

3. Long putts

Once he knows his basics are in good shape, and he’s seen some confidence-boosting putts go in the hole, he ends his pre-round preparations with some long, lag putts, to hone his distance control.

Luke Kerr-Dineen

Golf.com Contributor

Luke Kerr-Dineen is the Game Improvement Editor at GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com. In his role he oversees the brand’s game improvement content spanning instruction, equipment, health and fitness, across all of GOLF’s multimedia platforms.

An alumni of the International Junior Golf Academy and the University of South Carolina–Beaufort golf team, where he helped them to No. 1 in the national NAIA rankings, Luke moved to New York in 2012 to pursue his Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University. His work has also appeared in USA Today, Golf Digest, Newsweek and The Daily Beast.