Factors to consider to get the most out of your putting

By Joe Plecker, PGA
Published on

Important factors in putting can be categorized into three separate, equally important parts.

* Green Reading - If you cannot predict the break of a putt, you will never be the best you can be.

* Aiming - Players must know where the face of their putter is pointing at address and impact to be effective. Many types of putters are made to aid players in this crucial step.

* Distance Control - After you have read the green, aimed the club face and hit the ball over your intended line, the ball must be traveling at a speed that allows it to fall into the hole when it arrives. I train players to practice these three distinct skills. I am able to be most effective as a coach when I can help a player recognize where they are lacking in relation to these skills. When a student and I know what their fault is, it is easy to improve. I find that the toughest and least practiced skill is Distance Control. I have a simple drill you can do on any green that will make you a better putter.

Putt in the "BOX" A good putter has "Touch"; like a good basketball player whose jump shot arrives to the rim with the right touch, the ball will have a better chance of falling with the correct speed. Able to use the entire circumference of the hoop with great "Touch," this basketball player is said to have a "Shooter's Touch." You can have a great "Shooter's Touch" as a golfer, too! The ball has to be moving forward when it arrives at the hole. (Never up, never in!) The best speed for the ball to arrive and safely fall in any part of the entire hole is 2 Revolutions Per Second (2RPS). But how do you know what 2 RPS is? Simply, the ball would travel 12" past the hole if the hole was not there. To practice this skill, create a box, 12" by 12" using tees. Start at 5 feet and try to place the ball inside the Box. Keep practicing backing up to 10', 15' and 20', taking note of how well you did at each level. This will tell you how good a putter you are at each distance, and even better, where you should be spending your time practicing.

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