Beat the big-breaking putts

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Published 18/10/2010 17:00:00
 

If the course you play features sloping greens, you probably face quite a number of sharp-breaking putts each round. To stop three putting big breakers, try these tips.

 

Know the Speed Factors

The degree of slope isn't the only factor in figuring how much a putt will break. The speed of the putt plays a big part as well. If the green is fast, you don't hit the ball as hard but then, rolling more slowly, it breaks down the slope more than you might expect. On a slow green, you stroke the ball harder so it holds the line over a longer distance before it begins taking the break. In this case, you needn't start the ball quite as much on the high side.

 

The same formula applies to uphill and downhill breakers of the same speed. Downhill, more break; uphill, less break.

 

On bermuda greens, which tend to be grainy, look at the direction of the grain: If it's with the slope, the putt will break more; grain growing against the slope means a little less break.

 

Every Putt is "Straight"

Once you've determined the break, you know the starting line of the putt -- the first few feet the ball rolls before being influenced by the slope. Learn to concentrate on the starting line and forget about the hole. Imagine you have a straight putt along the starting line to a hole farther down that line. Resist the tendency to help by pushing or pulling the ball off the starting line and toward the real hole. If you do steer it, you'll probably miss on the low side.

 

Find the starting line and keep your putter blade moving along that initial path. You'll see more breaking putts going down in two.




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