Speed in putting is often the most critical element to making more putts, and once you have the correct speed you must match it properly with the correct line. We typically rank speed over line because one controls the other, as we’ll see in the pictures below. This article is designed to give you a better understanding the necessary speed to make more putts from a critical range – 3 to 10 feet.
Let’s examine a flat 5 foot putt, and assume the ball is rolling over a 2% grade from right to left. The ball will always roll down the slope, but the longer the ball is on the slope the more effect the slope will have on the ball. In picture 1 the ball is rolling with the proper speed (roughly 12 inches past the hole), and will roll into the center of the hole. In picture 2 we increase the speed, rolling the ball 3 feet past the hole. Since the ball spends less time on the slope it will break less and requires a starting line closer to the right edge than the first one. In picture 3, we decrease the speed so the ball will just barely roll to the front edge of the hole; this ball spends the most time on the slope and requires your starting line to be aimed the furthest outside of the cup.
While all of these putts can go in, the putts with the greatest likelihood of going in will be the 1st and 3rd, as the hole is “larger” to the ball when it is rolling the slowest. Once the golfer understands this principle, it’s time to practice getting your speed to a point where you roll the ball consistently from 3-10 feet.
A great drill to practice your speed is an easy one to perform in your house, so if you can’t get to the putting green right now you can still work on improving your game for 2015!
Set up 2 pairs of tees, 1 foot apart on all sides from each other – form a box. Then set up tees to make 3 foot to 10 foot putts, setting increments at each foot. As you practice see how many balls in a row you can roll into the box without going too far or short. For those who are competitive it may be a good idea to write down the number of putts you made from each distance and try to surpass it in your next practice session.
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