Tee It Up
PGA Master Professional Gives His Tips For Perfecting Your Putts
Last week, my good friend and fellow PGA Professional Ken Martin and I were discussing putting and how important proper aim is in making putts. We know how critical it is to pick the proper line for a putt, and how equally important it is to roll the putt the correct distance. Ken and I discussed the prevalent putting theories, which espouse that proper speed should take the ball 12 to 17 inches past the hole if the putt is not holed. This led me to opine that for breaking putts, there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of different lines the ball can take to go into the hole, depending on how hard the putt is stroked. By that I mean that the curvature of any putt is dependent on the speed the ball is rolled. The more speed, the less break; the less speed, the more break. How then does one select both the “correct” aim and the “correct” speed for each putt one hits?
Ken and I explored the topics of touch, feel and visualization, and concluded that the only putt where “correct” aim is critical is a straight putt. All curving putts require the player to select what is considered the proper combination of aim and speed to sink the putt, and this becomes more a matter of touch and feel than picking a single point at which to aim the putter.
To learn how to match aim and speed, I recommend students practice straight 3-foot putts to ensure they can aim the putter properly, then practice 15-to-20-foot curving putts using different speeds, which, of course, will produce different amounts of curvature. Understanding that there is no single “perfect” aim for curving putts should lessen the pressure of having to select the “correct” aim if you are to make a putt. Successful putting is, after all, more a matter of visualization, touch and feel than a matter of mechanical perfection.