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Putting Smarter

The average golfer usually thinks that he or she needs to make more putts in order to improve their scoring. In fact, if the average golfer changed his or her thinking about putting, they could easily take 2 to 3 strokes off their card.

It's simple to do:

Learning Pace in Putting

With putting, the first rule of thumb is:

  1. The putt needs to be hit hard enough to get to the hole and not so hard that it goes soaring past the hole, leaving a lengthy return putt.

This portion of putting is called "pace", and pace is basically how hard I strike my putts in order to get the ball to stop in the hole or to just stop rolling about 18 inches past the hole.

The world famous putting and short game guru, Dave Pelz, has performed many studies on putting, and his conclusions were that a putt that ends up rolling past the hole within 18 inches has the best chance of becoming a made putt.

He found also that the correct and optimal pace of any putt is the pace that enables the ball to make it to the hole but not any more speed necessary than a speed to stop at the 18 inch mark past the hole.

Ignoring Feel in Putting

The most common mistake that average golfers make is that they make every putt an experience of "feel", giving a relative guess about how a putt relates to speed and distance.

In contrast, the great putters always incorporate the same accelerated motion through the forward motion of every putt. This basically means that they strike the ball using the same amount of force.

How the pros change the length of their putts is with a shorter backstroke.

  • So on 25 footers, their backstroke might be 24 inches, and their forward motion an accelerated smooth stroke.
  • On 15 footers, the pros might use a 15 inch backstroke, and still accelerate through the ball.
  • On 6 footers, they might use a 3 inch backstroke.

Relying on Memory in Putting

The reason for a controlled backstroke is simple. Now the regulated distance of putting becomes a function of memory and not that of feel.

What I mean by that is that the golfer already knows to use the pendulum motion of a certain distance on his backswing to go the distance that the backstroke enables.

When the average golfer stands over his putt, he can now use his memory to determine the length of the putt and he can confidently strike his putts knowing that he won't leave anything but a short putt coming back on his return putt if he misses.

Avoiding 3 Putts

Once the golfer knows how to lengthen and shorten his backswing, all the while maintaining his front stroke AT THE SAME PACE, he will eliminate the chance of 3 putts. Most missed putts will be left at a distance of only 18 inches, leaving the golfer with short comeback putts all day.

This also leaves him with only one thing to concentrate on – the line of the putt. By putting on memory, he eliminates the need to concentrate on the pace of the putt significantly and can apply more mental energy to the line of the putt.

Play golf,

Robert R. LaPorte

"the Golf Nut"

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