There are 3 main areas to putting that we often refer to
1. Can you hit your putt on your intended line
2. Can you control the speed of the putt
3. How good are you at reading the greens and seeing the probable break
Relative to most golfers who would love a big handicap drop, controlling speed is key. This will reduce the number of 3 putts from outside of 15 feet, and the ability to quickly adjust to different speeds on varying courses is a great asset to have in your game.
There are a couple of factors to improve your speed, and probably the most undervalued is the strike. Most of us presume we strike the ball out the middle of the putter but actually the variability is quite high with most golfers, a large proportion don’t start with the ball in the middle of the face and consequently don’t strike it there.
Another area to control would be the length of swing. A good way to control speed is to relate it to the length of backswing and then attempt to match this on the through swing…the longer the putt the longer the swing length, this also helps control the speed and acceleration.
I would also pay some attention to the loft on your putter and how quickly the ball is rolling end over end. This can also be affected by ball position, but the variability in how the ball comes off the face can have a large effect on your distance control. Get this checked over with your coach.
Finally, spend lots of time on different putting surfaces and slopes so your computer (brain) gets used to adjusting to different courses. Great putters can adapt to most surfaces and speeds and do it very quickly.
We’ll have a look at some games to help speed control on the practice putting green in future weeks.