SoundandFury - I was in the same place you were one year ago and decided that this would be the year that I became a better putter. Here was my plan:
#1) Find a putter that feels right. - I have tried all sizes and shapes, but settled on a putter that is 33 inches long. This year I also went to a Lamkin jumbo grip. - I also have 4 different putters (see signature) that I like, and will use one as long as it performs on the course. Once it falters, it goes to the basement and another one gets a chance. The usual time expectancy in my bag is 2 to 3 weeks.
#2) Develop a consistent pre-shot routine. The pre-shot routine that I have for all of my other clubs is very precise, and is designed to impart swing thoughts during the execution of my swing. My putting pre-shot routine up until this past winter changed from round to round and left me guessing half of the time. The routine that I developed last winter now has me in a better setup and posture, and a more consistent placement of the ball in my stance. Consequently, I am hitting my line with much more consistency.
#3) Read books on putting. Over the years I have read many different books by many different "authorities," and there are valid points to be found in all of them. The two books I liked the best were "Zen Putting" and "Dave Pelz's Putting Bible." To sum it all up, iacas hit the nail on the head on an earlier post: "The best putters in the world all do three things: 1 ) Read greens well; 2) Hit their lines; and, 3) Control distance." But, if you want to truly understand the art of putting, reading is the first step on your journey. “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” -Dr. Seuss
#4) Practice on a regular schedule. Practicing regularly in my basement over the winter months was probably the key to my success.
Here were the results:
2012 Statistics: 35 rounds - 1140 putts - 10 rounds under 80
2013 Statistics: 35 rounds - 1090 putts - 13 rounds under 80
One final note. I do not subscribe to the theory that boogielicious posted, "Your intention on every putt, 1 foot or 60 foot, should be to make the putt. That should be your mindset." I looked at Dave Pelz's statistical analysis of PGA tour pros who made the following percentage of their putts: 3 Feet: 83%; 6 Feet: 55%; 10 Feet: 33%; 15 Feet: 17%; and 25 Feet: 10%. Since my putting is not on the same level as PGA tour pros, I developed a philosophy that when my putt is more than 10 feet, I try to see how close to the cup I can leave the putt. From the shorter distances I will try to make the putt because I know the next putt will be a manageable distance. This has led to less frequent three putt greens.
Best wishes on your journey toward putting nirvana.