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Putting Pace - Avoid 3 Putts

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  • Putting Pace - Avoid 3 Putts

    Hi All,

    My putting is so frustrating, I regularly 3 putt, especially from fairly lengthy 1st putts.

    My problem stems from a poor putting stroke. I've never had lessons on putting until recently. My putting stroke was too long, being picked up too steep on the back swing, coming down at the ball and or de-accelerating.

    I've now changed, folowing my Pro's advice to trying to keep the length of the backswing shorter and accelerating through the ball. My putter head at most now just goes beyond my right foot.

    Generally this is working. However instrad of leaving putts short I'm now hitting them some 6ft past on long ones and 4ft on say a 8ft putt. I just can't get the pace. If I conciously try to slow my stroke I under hit it. On long ones say 30ft by a good 10ft.

    I need help.

    On the plus side I generally get my lines right and make my fair share of 6ft putts. But nothing is more annoying to reach a tough hole in regulation only to 3 putt or see a perfect stroke pull up 3 inches from the hole or the missed one sail on by!

    Tips please?

  • #2
    Re: Putting Pace - Avoid 3 Putts

    Are you thinking about the mechanics of your swing? Or are you simply 'seeing it and hitting it'?

    First things first - there are plenty of drills to learn your pace. GregJWillis has a website chock full of useful stuff.

    Now, that said, I've posted before that there are two crucial aspects to putting: Line and speed. Granted, the majority of golfers will readily acknowledge this.

    However - how can you possibly figure out your speed if you're not committed to your line?

    You also need to figure out for yourself if you want the ball to ram in the hole, die in the hole, or somewhere in between. This too, will effect your choice of speed.

    So lets assume that you're committed to your line, and you can visualise the ball taking your line and going in the hole. This visualisation will help you also see how your ball's going to react (die in/ram in) and give you further feel for your pace.

    Finally - and this is the most crucial part - get over your ball, setup, and brainlessly stroke the ball. Under no circumstances should you be paying attention to what your putter is doing or how far back it's moving or anything. If you find your brain screaming "THAT'S TOO FAR!" during your backswing, you need to learn to shut your brain off. Try a few practice putts where you simply trust yourself to find the appropriate pace based on how you visualised your putt. You'll be surprised at just how well you do.

    When I started golfing, I had some very good players marvelling at how I putted - how I seemed to find pace well when they couldn't, how I could give an 80 footer a chance, that kind of thing. It was because I simply 'drank in' the green, got over my ball, squared up to where I wanted to start my ball, and stroked it. It wasn't until I started thinking about my mechanics that my putting went to $hit.

    My natural stroke was full of deceleration (playing partners would point it out), and I have no idea what the rest of my body was doing. All I know is that I really didn't three putt - I just 'saw it and hit it'.


    • #3
      Re: Putting Pace - Avoid 3 Putts

      a lot of golfers make putting so much harder than it should be by trying to ram the ball into the hole. a hole in golf is 4 1/2 inches but if you hit the ball with enough pace that it would go 18 inches past the hole you have in-fact turned the hole into a 2" hole as the ball has to find the middle of the hole to drop. if you putt so the ball was only to go 6 inches past the hole the the hole is now 6" wide as any ball on the lip of the hole will now fall into the hole. its all about pace and if you understand that a hole can be 6" if you putt with the right amouth off pace then putting does become a lot easer.
      if you set up to the hole 24" away and line up at the edge off the hole and put a tee-peg in line with the edge of the lip of the hole 24" past the hole and putt to hit the tee-peg you will see the the ball always lips out but if you move the tee-ped to 6" past the hole and now putt to the tee-peg you will see the ball drops every time.
      so its up to you if your putting to a 2" hole or a 6" hole.
      hope you understand about pace being so important, sometimes more important than line.


      • #4
        Re: Putting Pace - Avoid 3 Putts

        I have been getting a lot of success by looking at the hole while taking practice swings, just let the body judge the distance. Once comfortable step up to the ball and take aim, take one last look at the target (often not the hole as the ball will break), then look back at the ball and without hesitation, stroke the putt. I have been making some real bombs with this method and getting within a foot with others.

        You will notice that you will stroke the ball very well. I draw a line on my ball and it often rolls on that line. I find that if I miss a putt it is usually the result of a missread, i.e. it rolls right down my intended line and doesn't break how I thought it would. If you do this, don't get mad with yourself, you rolled it to where you thought it should go, it just didn't drop as there was something in the break that tricked you. If you putt like this your confidence just builds and suddenly you find yourself over an easy to read 12-15 foot putt and you will stroke it right into he heart of the cup.

        Try it.


        • #5
          Re: Putting Pace - Avoid 3 Putts

          Bill, I'll fully agree (within your constraints) that pace is more important than line.

          If you have the right line but hit it 10 feet short, you're left with 10 feet.

          If you have the wrong line but hit the perfect pace, if you miss your line by 3 feet, you've only got 3 feet left. Your margin for error on a missed line is much smaller than when you miss pace.

          But again, if you have no idea how the ball's going to roll, how in the world can you judge pace?


          • #6
            Re: Putting Pace - Avoid 3 Putts

            Originally posted by snowman View Post
            I have been getting a lot of success by looking at the hole while taking practice swings, just let the body judge the distance. Once comfortable step up to the ball and take aim, take one last look at the target (often not the hole as the ball will break), then look back at the ball and without hesitation, stroke the putt.
            That's the other part of my routine that I don't mention (and it drives my playing partners crazy). I'll stand over my ball and stare blankly at the hole, 'drinking it in'. Eventually I feel comfortable and I stroke the putt brainlessly. Like you, I'm either really close or it drops (my mantra seems to be 'lag it up, tap it in. Lag it up, tap it in.') The times I'm way out is when my brain realises it's been left behind and tries to grab control again. You can see it - a jabby putt that goes horribly in terms of pace.


            • #7
              Re: Putting Pace - Avoid 3 Putts

              Hi Guys, thanks for the advice and insights so far.

              My intention with my putts is to get it to the hole - "never up, never in" and all that. I rarely try to slot it in the hole with pace as I'm not that confident of doing that.

              My putting stats are around 34 per round, including around 4 3 putts and 2 or 3 1 putts.

              I can generally read the line and have in mind the pace I want it to go and generally put a good stroke on the ball, It's just the wrong pace!

              I used to leave alot short, always. Practicing the new stroke has mostly cured that but I'm leaving myself too often with 6ft odd coming back - there's only so many of those you can make.

              I'm at the moment definately thinking about technique. I lack the feel and more importantly the confidence to know that if I miss I'll be left with a tap in.

              I'll try your thoughts over the next few rounds and practice. I've tried looking at the hole and feeling the weight before - however I think I then freeze over the ball and mechanics creep in. I'll make an effort next round etc to feel then go.

              Thanks again


              • #8
                Re: Putting Pace - Avoid 3 Putts

                Take a look at my putting looks like this might help your distance control.

                Golf Lessons - GregJWillis


                • #9
                  Re: Putting Pace - Avoid 3 Putts

                  hi lowpost
                  pace is something that can be learned not only at the course on the greens but at home on a putting mat. i think the boomarang putting system is very good at getting you to learn to judge pace. also at the course putting with a couple of balls and trying to lag one ball behind the other is great for learning to judge pace, i have always found it harder to really judge the line more than the pace on the greens, i now don't spend that much time looking at my line as i think the first look and judgment always seems better than if i second guess it. if i have say a 15 foot putt and my line is off then like you say it not going to be more that a foot to 15 inches out unless there is a lot of break on the putt, so if i get the pace right and i miss i will only be about 15 inches away a most. its sad but we use the putter on the course more than any other club but its the club we practice with the least. a few hours putting and your game can change for the better over night.
                  Last edited by bill reed; 09-19-2007, 09:26 AM.


                  • #10
                    Re: Putting Pace - Avoid 3 Putts

                    I was going to mention the Boomerang as a great training aid for feeling pace. Getting that first ball out without trapping the second is a b!tch!


                    • #11
                      Re: Putting Pace - Avoid 3 Putts

                      My problem in putting has been twofold: perception and distance. By "perception" I mean that the correct line looks wrong from my setup position. I used to blame my glasses, and I still think they contribute to the problem, but I've since read that it's a common problem. Just as with other golf shots, the true line looks from setup as if it's pointing left of the target. So we tend to align to the right and then mumble that we've "pushed" the shot. Or we compensate unconsciously by swinging outside-in. Putting is just a special case of a more general problem.

                      The cure is simple, both for putting and for other shots. Choose the line from behind the ball, aim the club face toward it, step around to setup position and commit to that line. I take my time aiming my club face, and I make sure I have it where I want it. I remind myself that my view from behind the ball is better than my view from over the ball. This way, I resist the temptation to "adjust" the line when I step around and address the ball. I allow myself to look at the target once in the setup, solely to get the distance. I don't take a practice swing. Since I'm not getting any feedback from a practice swing, it's useless for helping me to judge the correct distance. I just draw the putter back and make the stroke. Doing it this way I'm less likely to leave them short. The more I futz around with practice swings, the more likely I am to leave the putt short. If I'm tossing a piece of crumpled paper into a wastebasket, I don't take practice throws; I just judge the distance and throw. If I miss, I don't miss by much. I try to think of putting in that way.

                      I don't claim to be an ace putter, but I can say that my putting has improved from doing these things, and I expect it to get better as I get better at committing myself to the line when I aim the club face.


                      • #12
                        Re: Putting Pace - Avoid 3 Putts

                        The three things you need to do to be able to putt well, after you are on the green. One, is learn to hit a straight putt. By that I mean learn to roll the ball over a spot a foot, or so in front of the ball. Once you know you can hit a straight putt, then practice your butt off till you can dial in distances, and any possible breaks with what ever weight putter you are using. Learn how the weight of your putter relates to the length of your putting stroke, backwards, and forward. The third thing you can do is get your putter fitted to your putting stroke. A fitted putter will be a great help in helping you to learn hit a straight putt. GJS


                        • #13
                          Re: Putting Pace - Avoid 3 Putts

                          I play lawn bowling when I am not playing golf.The technique is very similar to putting . Its visual, you are sending a massage to the brain,,the massage is of muscle memory feel and of course experience.
                          Study the putt and let you're imagination do the rest.Taking in all the information that you're eyes see.,,uphill downhill..etc,etc.


                          • #14
                            Re: Putting Pace - Avoid 3 Putts

                            Hi all,

                            I've been busy this week trying as many drills as reasonably possible leading to a round on Thursday.

                            I've tried greg's putting drill, semi success. The main problem I had is trying to generate enough pace on shorter backswings but it did/does focus the mind and helped me gauge the length required for the pace. Thankx

                            I think the biggest effect came from looking at the hole and practice swining the putter until I felt I had the pace. This did long as I committed to the feel of the pace I had agreed on and didn't slow down.

                            I've realised through doing this that I feel the right pace but then when it comes to the stroke it doesn't feel the same. I have to commit to the pace I agreed on in my head.

                            I got it wrong a couple of times by not taking into account a downslope but I was please with a few long putts, one of about 60ft ending up about 5ft short (i missed the second though) and another of about 40ft on the top terrace to the hole on the lower terrace. I had the pace perfect to the top of the slope, over it went and ended up 4ft past and holed out. I don't think there was anyway of getting closer without picking the ball up and placing it there.

                            I had 28 putts on the day - just the one 3 putt as described above. I did though have a run of 1 putts to help my stats out.

                            All in all pleased but know there's more work to be done here.

                            Back to working on Gregs drill, practice swinging and repeating the practice swing n the real swing - committing

                            As is usual in golf when you make progress on one area my round was marred by appalling pitching. I counted 11 approach shots, including pitches/chips from 30/40 yards in that I left way short - 3 of which went straight into bunkers! Doh!

                            That's for another post though!

                            Thanks for the debate guys.


                            • #15
                              Re: Putting Pace - Avoid 3 Putts


                              My putting took a dramatic turn for the better when I started to shed my fear of it.

                              Mechanically, putting isn't hard. Brad Faxon is one of the best putters ever and when he practices he mimics other players (the knock-kneed Palmer, the upright Crenshaw) he stands tall, squats, left foot back, feet together, feet turned out, open shoulders, and at the same time he does it with different clubs. He putts with a driver and wedges and even the toe of his putter.

                              It's all geared to reinforce the absolute fact that putting well is 1% to do with mechanics and 99% to do with being switched on to your surroundings and committing to hole every putt.

                              If you're not trying to hole it, what are you trying to do? Miss it? I don't know anyone that scores well who tries to miss mutts in order to leave a shorter one next time.

                              Putt to make it. Every time. If you putt the ball to hole it, you will putt it with confidence. You will accelerate through the putt. If it misses, it misses. You'll learn more from one confidently rolled putt than 20 tentative efforts, or the ones where you think you haven't given it enough and flick your hands to give it some juice, only to see it race by. We've all done it.

                              Don't be scared of missing it. Whether you knock it 6 feet by or leave 10 feet short, it's still a miss. If you focus on rolling the ball in the hole, you'll make more putts and your misses will be less drastic.

                              Never contemplate a 3-putt. It will happen. Just put it down to part of the game when it does.

                              As has been suggested in an earlier post, I recommend practice strokes looking at the hole. That's as technical as I get. If I can't see the hole in my brain when I've looked back at the ball I look at the hole again to burn it into my brain. The mere fact that your eyes have looked at the hole and the ground in between your ball and the hole means your brain has all the information it needs. Then just get comfy and roll it.