Golf, Part 29, Putting Objectives in Golf

the golfer will learn to select a putting procedure for the situation at hand and exercises that enhance distance and directinal control.

It would be nice if percentages showed that all putts were makeable, and sometimes putts of overwhelming distances do go in. Nonetheless, that is not the case so a golfer might be well advised to view putts as “makeable” or “lag”. Strike putting might be best for makeable putts and roll putting might prove superior for lag putting (see Part 28). For this exercise let us consider putts of twenty feet or less as makeable, and everything beyond as lag.

In either case, an initial procedure is to envision where the player wants the ball to come to rest. Makeable putts, of course, are viewed as in the hole. So, the ball must get to the hole. Advice is to envision a stopping point a foot or so beyond the hole with the hole in the way of that point; some experts advise 17 inches. The plan for lag putts should be for the ball to stop in front of, to the side of, or beyond the hole, but close enough for an easy following putt. So, a “comfort” area or “circle” should be established in mental planning. The size of this mentally fixed area depends upon the confidence level of the individual. Start large and reduce to gain confidence. The route and feel for distance must be mentally established to accomplish either task.

Reading the route is a skill that must be learned, and includes more than one factor. All are not covered here but do come from experience. (1) The terrain: flat or sloped. Stand behind, ¾ of the way to the hole, or notice the high and low points of the green to identify the grade. Consider if the green were flooded with water, which way would run-off be? Experience is a great teacher. (2) Grain: the lay of the grass influences the roll of the ball, pushing it in that direction or affecting the element of speed. Bermuda type greens, predominately found in southern states, have much more grain than Bent type greens. Identify grain by looking at the grass around a cup or by ruffling the apron of the green usually helps identity on Bermuda greens.

It is a good procedure to consider all breaking putts as straight in putts. The ball rests at point “A”; select point “B” as the point where the putt will ultimately break toward the hole, as if that where the mouth of a funnel. Let the funnel take the ball to the hole.

Distance putting exercises (putts of 20+ feet): the goal is to gain a feel for rolling the ball to a pre-identified “comfort” circle of about six feet in diameter, reducing the size as improvement comes. Use ten balls and strive for success with a pre-determined number of balls. Once that goal is reached go to next exercise.

(1) Trailing (right for right-handers) hand only on club.

(2) Both hands upon club. Look at destination while putting, rather than the ball.

(3) Both hands upon club. Eyes closed.

(4) Both hands upon club. Regular putts.

(5) Review often to lessen the number of three putt greens.

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