Make the hole big­ger…

Today's Golfer (UK) - - PLAY BETTER -

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.


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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.