Putting Tendencies

Why do we not hole as many as we should?

Why do we miss putts? Why do we not hole as many as we should? Why is the game within the game so frustrating?

I’ve learned a lot over the last few years and I’m amazed at the number of players who struggle to hole putts. Not because they are technically poor at moving the putter back and forward but because they struggle to understand slopes.


The above image shows a player on a straight, flat 6ft putt. Excellent overall control of the clubface. Squares it well to the target and on average, returns it back to the same place.

Take that player to a slope and you will see his weakness exposed. We kept the distance the same at 6ft, added a slope of 1% and asked him to read the amount of break.

The variation in his control over the clubface is clear between the reports. It looks like we have taken a very good putter and broken him. Not great for a golf coach who is supposed to help. But what is highlighted was the way he compliments one fault with another.

Underestimating the amount of break the putt had left him opening the face and ‘pushing’ the putt further up the hill. To his credit he did hole a couple but with a difficult to balance combination of face angle and speed. Its worth noting when the ball missed the hole it finished 3ft past. A 50% misjudgement in speed.

How did we fix it?

We did nothing to the stroke. Absolutely nothing…

We did spend time discussing the way he approaches putts and some of the key things to look out for to give him a greater chance to hole clutch putts on slopes. His learning came simply from knowing what the ball will do on a slope under varying conditions.

Is it possible for a 6ft putt to break 7 inches across a downhill slope? Absolutely. Problem is our eyes often don’t see it.

If you want to hole more putts you have to understand what you do and the reasons why you do it. The only way to do that is speak to a golf professional and go in with an open mind. 

Oh….. to finish the session he holed 3 in a row from 15ft. Easy when you know how.

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