Make the hole bigger…
YOU OPTIONS. Pace determines line. In fact, we’d go so far as to say that without pace, the line does not or cannot exist.
The case for prioritising line over length is ultimately a simple one. In order for the ball to go in the hole, it has to have a relationship with momentum and gravity.
If the ball is travelling with too much momentum, then gravity cannot take its effect. Too little momentum and the ball won’t reach the hole. We’re sure you agree that this presents a pretty strong case for paying particular attention to pace.
We are not advocating that line isn’t important – of course it is. We are, however, saying that the correct line on any given putt is directly influenced by the correct pace.
Pace focus benefit #1 The hole becomes bigger!
Indeed, pace is so important that it can even dictate the size of the hole. Much research has been done on how the hole’s effective size changes relative to the pace the ball is travelling.
Former PGA Tour pro Darrell Kestner concluded: “The speed of the putt dictates the size of the hole, which is 4.25in. One revolution of the ball is 5.26 inches long, about the length of a dollar bill (or £10 note). Each revolution past the hole shrinks the effective width of the hole by 12 per cent. The harder you hit a putt, the smaller the hole gets and the less the chance you have of making the putt.”
In other words, a putt travelling at dead weight and finishing in the middle of the hole makes the hole its entire 4.25in wide. But if your ball travels...
How many times have you hit a great putt that has come up an inch short bang on line? Probably two or three times in every round of golf you have ever played. But when you place your attention on pace more than line, you can shift your attention and intended target to the back of the hole. The hole is obviously circular, which means that it is also 4.25 inches from front to back. Now what happens when the ball comes up an inch short of that target? It would have dropped right in the middle!
Pace focus benefit #2 Putting becomes easier
When a player focuses more on pace they invariably free up their stroke… and their natural ability to hit the putt on line improves dramatically. You’ll be amazed how, by focusing on pace, your brain and body will organise what they need to do to get the start line better anyway. This is one of those anomalies where you get better at something by NOT focusing on it. Strange but true.
The importance of strike
Hitting the ball out of the sweetspot is also vitally important if you are to have any chance of hitting your putts the correct distance.
We know that if we hit our driver out of the heel or toe, the resultant shots rarely travel the full or desired distance or direction. The same applies to an off-centre strike with your putter.
That is not an opinion or theory –we have done a lot of testing and research to reach this conclusion. In fact, a heel or toe strike on a 10-foot putt can result in the ball travelling less than 80 per cent of the intended distance – in other words, it will pull up a good two feet short.
Mark Broadie, whose incredibly detailed and well-researched book
Every Shot Counts contains some very interesting insights that might surprise you, has discovered that on the PGA Tour, on average, pros leave almost exactly 50% of 30ft putts short. They leave 7% of 10-foot putts short on average, with the best putters leaving only 6% short and the worst leaving 9% short.
In comparison, the amateur golfer who shoots in the 90s tends to leave 16% of similar length putts short. Amateur golfers also miss 70% of their putts on the low side. Much of this can be attributed to the loss of ball speed and momentum that comes with poorer striking.
We all know we should strike the ball out of the sweetspot… but when was the last time you actually paid any ATTENTION to doing just that?
Striking a putt solidly is not beyond most golfers, but when we become consumed by technique it can easily become overlooked.
So next time out, try a simple shift in focus to the quality of your strike on every putt you hit. We are confident you will leave fewer putts short or low… and gain a keener appreciation of how, when it comes to being a great putter, pace is unquestionably the key component.
‘PACE DETERMINES LINE. IN FACT, WE’D GO SO FAR AS TO SAY THAT WITHOUT PACE, THE LINE DOES NOT OR CANNOT EXIST’
Just look how much pace affects the size of the hole. When it comes to being a great putter, pace is unquestionably the key component.
The Lost Art of Putting is available now on Amazon in hardback (£19.95) and Kindle (£9.99) formats.