Iden­tify your speed be­fore you pick your line

Golf World (UK) - - Jason Day -

You won’t see me three-putt very of­ten. Last year, I ranked 15th on Tour in three-putt avoid­ance with just 25 in 1,242 holes. I was also sixth in one-putt per­cent­age at 43.64%. But the stat I’m most proud of is that I ranked No.1 in the PGA Tour’s ‘Strokes Gained – Putting’ cat­e­gory. On av­er­age, I picked up more than a stroke on the field in every round I played. Four shots over four rounds is mas­sive.

The key to all of these im­pres­sive putting stats is dis­tance con­trol. I never want to leave a putt short be­cause you can’t make the putt if it doesn’t get there, right? But that doesn’t mean I just blast away at the hole. You have to hit it at the right pace to take the break you want and leave your­self sim­ple, stress-free tap-ins if you miss. I don’t want to see my putts fin­ish any fur­ther than a foot past the hole. That is my en­tire phi­los­o­phy on putting. Here’s how I make it hap­pen.

Hone your feel “There’s an art to putting. Much of my suc­cess is built around feel. For ex­am­ple, if I’m teach­ing some­one how to putt, the first thing I’ll do is ask them to tell me what they think is the most im­por­tant thing in putting. Hope­fully, they’ll re­spond by say­ing, ‘Speed’. With­out know­ing the speed of your roll, you can’t pick the line to match it. If you pick the line be­fore as­sess­ing the speed, you’re go­ing to hit the ball harder or softer from putt to putt if you sub­con­sciously feel you don’t have the right line. That leads to in­con­sis­tency.”

Be ag­gres­sive “So many ama­teurs leave putts short be­cause they’re afraid of hit­ting the ball too hard. But all of the good put­ters you see on Tour are, gen­er­ally speak­ing, ag­gres­sive on the greens. But you have to prac­tise a lot to de­velop this con­fi­dence. On a reg­u­lar week off away from the Tour, I’ll spend two hours a day work­ing on my putting, com­pared to maybe only an hour or so on my longer clubs.”

Trust your read “The big­gest piece of ad­vice I give to ama­teurs about green­read­ing is to trust your in­stincts and com­pletely com­mit to the speed and line you’ve cho­sen when you’re about to putt. Sec­ond-guess­ing your­self will lead to ma­nip­u­la­tions dur­ing the stroke and you’re never go­ing to putt con­sis­tently well by do­ing that.”

My favourite drill “To cal­i­brate my speed and dis­tance con­trol, I putt balls from 15 and 30 feet on a flat sec­tion of the prac­tice green. It’s all about feel from this range. You’re try­ing to make every putt, of course, but you’re also mak­ing sure the ball gets to the hole. My goal is to en­sure that the ball doesn’t roll more than, say, six rev­o­lu­tions past the hole if I miss.”

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