By Rob McDonald, The GlenRiddle Golf Club – 410-213-2325 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The ability to shoot a lower score is very much dependent upon your ability to make the short and intermediate length putts. When you watch golf on television, the players you are watching are the ones that are making the six to ten foot putts. That’s why they are on the top of the leader board.
One way to improve your percentages in putting is to practice putting three different speeds on the short to intermediate length putts. There are many different ways to make the same putt. It’s all about the speed that determines the amount of break to play. With this exercise we’re using three different speeds, one, two and three.
Speed one is a putt that is just dying into the hole. This putt requires taking into account the most amount of break in reading the putt. The slower the ball is rolling, the more gravity will have an effect on it. You choose this speed because the ball could run away on a downhill slope if the ball misses the hole. This speed also allows the ball to fall in from any side of the hole.
Speed two is a putt that gives the ball just a little airtime as it enters the hole. This speed is a pace that will help the ball stay on its intended path while rolling over imperfections in the green. The ball is rolling with some authority to the hole, yet won’t go too far past if it misses. With this speed you’ll play less break than a number one speed putt. This is a speed I try to use most of the time.
Speed three is a putt that has the ball hitting the back of the cup. The pace of this putt will mean there is very little break to it. You use this speed when it is a must make, short putt that has very little meaning afterwards if you miss. Use it in situations like you need this putt to halve a hole and if you miss you lose the hole anyway so it doesn’t matter if it goes way past the hole.
You should practice each of these speeds so you get a feel for how the pace affects the break. The key to making these putts on the course is to first, decide which speed you are going to use and then read the amount of break for that speed. Second and most importantly, commit to that speed. Many short putts are missed because you read for a certain speed and then change your mind during the stroke. For instance, you choose a number one speed and then during the stroke, you tell yourself to make sure you get it there and then hit it through the break.
So with a little practice, putting will be as easy as 1, 2, 3!