Plumb Bobbing

 groovyduvey ·  
groovyduveygroovyduvey  23WRX Points: 16Members Posts: 23
Joined:  in Putters #1

Yes, I too once watched people plumb bob and thought to myself.... what in the **** is this ******** doing?

About a month ago I decided to try to figure it out, frustrated that my green reading has been pretty poor. I worked on the putting green for a few weeks then I took it to the course and gave it my 100% faith. I've done this for 4 18-hole rounds now. My putts per hole has dropped from 1.95 pre-plumb bobbing... to 1.55 post plum bobbing. Incredible. That's like 4 shots per round and my scores have been showing it. No changes at all except for my pre-putt routine now incorporating plumb bobbing, and me giving it my faith even if my eyes disagree.

I'd prefer this to not be a thread about plumb bobbers vs non plumb bobbers. I'm more keen to hear from those who do plumb bob. How do you do? How do you use it?

While I'm not sure I've figured out all the specifics yet, I have found a few things that seem to be important:

1) the ground I'm standing on needs to be a similar slope to the one I'm trying to read.

2) My dominate eye needs to be exactly in line with the ball and the hole. Like, EXACTLY.

3) I need to hold my putter in the exact orientation that allows it to hang perfectly vertical (i use a toe-hanging putter). THIS IS IMPORTANT

4) It seems to work best on fairly flat and simple puts - ie. no multi breaks and wildly variable breaks.

5) whether the putt is uphill or downhill seems to impact the read, but I haven't figured out exactly how yet.

6) i need to be standing, not squatting, and its best to have my weight evenly distributed across both feet.

I've only been doing this for a little while now, but I've pretty much found that I'm able to at least get the break direction correct in 95% of putts, and if the above conditions are met I can also generally get a pretty good idea of how much break. Literally, if its a fairly simple green and putt, I can get a reliable aim-point in less than 2 seconds.

Anyone have any plumb-bobbing wisdom and experience to share?

Posted:
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Comments

  • Sean2Sean2  31447WRX Points: 672Members Posts: 31,447
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    I have been doing it since I picked up a club almost 15 years ago. I know some people don't like it, but it works for me.

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  • charlicharli  27WRX Points: 16Members Posts: 27
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    Im honestly not even sure how it works. Or how it helps you see a break that you wouldn’t normally

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  • groovyduveygroovyduvey  23WRX Points: 16Members Posts: 23
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    best I can gather everyone has a slightly different take on it. Some people just use the vertical line as a reference to help them see the slopes. Some people look at the angle of the cup relative to true vertical. Some people use it to estimate the slope of the ground they are standing on relative to the straight line between the ball and the cup. This last one is kinda what I’ve been doing. I’ve found success doing something very similar to what’s shown in this video here:

    https://youtu.be/KBAhqwNLsVU

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  • charlicharli  27WRX Points: 16Members Posts: 27
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    Wow good ol mr short game. I’m trying it now.

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  • cxxcxx  3224WRX Points: 223Members Posts: 3,224
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    If done correctly you get the same info that you would from aim point express, the angle of the slope under your feet in the direction of the hole.

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  • RP40RP40  141WRX Points: 116Members Posts: 141
    Joined:  edited Jan 16, 2020 4:34am #7


    I've plumb bobbed since I was a kid, back when it was done routinely by tour pros (before the advent of greens reading books).

    Here's what you do: Stand directly behind the ball or marker on the green, hold your putter in your right hand (for rightie golfers) by the finger tips at the top of the grip, allow the putter to hang directly vertical from your fingertips, stand so that you're directly behind the ball in a straight line to the cup and with both eyes open align the shaft of your putter so it lines up with your ball and the hole, then close your left eye (assuming your right eye is dominant, the opposite if you're left-eye dominant as I am), with your left eye closed the alignment is going to change and the bottom of the shaft of your club will be either to the left or right of your ball. That distance is your approximate break, and you should allow that distance when lining up your putt. ... You need to remember though, that plumb bobbing will not take into account double-breaking putts, or any change in elevation, or natural breaks toward water, or the grain of the grass, so you'll need to take those into consideration as well when lining up your putt.

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    Post edited by RP40 on
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  • Steele47Steele47  1645WRX Points: 798Members Posts: 1,645
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    I've plumbed since the 70's but back then I was putting with an old school bullseye which I could trust to hang straight down. If I'm using an Anser style (plumbers neck) type putter or especially a mallet I, of course, can't trust it completely as the putter shaft is now hanging at a slight angle.


    With all that said, even if I am using a mallet putter I will still plumb bob because quite often I will be asked why I do it and if it actually works. I usually reply, "You wouldn't understand". as a gag of course.

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  • groovyduveygroovyduvey  23WRX Points: 16Members Posts: 23
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    Easy solution for ya, just hang the putter next to a door frame, which you know to be true plumb, and spin it until you find the angle that the shaft is parallel to the door frame. For my anser style Scotty Cameron it’s about 45 degrees with the toe facing forward and to the left. I made a mark in the bottom of the grip to line up with.

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  • Steele47Steele47  1645WRX Points: 798Members Posts: 1,645
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  • bladehunterbladehunter Today was a good day... south carolina 29592WRX Points: 6,083Handicap: NONEMembers Posts: 29,592
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    Good post. I started to say same. Most modern putters won’t hang straight . And some not at any angle you twist the grip. I laugh when I see a regular playing partner hanging his odyssey #7 up to look. It’s crooked as a dogs hind leg. But. I guess if he’s calibrated to that crookedness then the idea still works. And yes. I do sometimes plumb bob. But. I’m using a heel shafted blade that’s toe down. So it will hang straight on its own. Plumb being the operative word.

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  • LondonerLondoner  1336WRX Points: 167Handicap: 12Members Posts: 1,336
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    I use it. Always have done.

    It amuses me that some people say it is pointless but rely on aimpoint.

    Its most useful on my course. We have no 2 tier type greens. They are very subtle, all look flat. None of them are.

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  • cxxcxx  3224WRX Points: 223Members Posts: 3,224
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    If you balance the putter on you finger it will find the angle that hangs true. Hold the putter so the direction that is facing the sky is pointing at you when plumbing.

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  • RSinSGRSinSG St George, UT (Formerly Palm Springs, CA) 3331WRX Points: 408Handicap: 7.2ClubWRX Posts: 3,331
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    That’s the best explanation I’ve read on the topic. It’s always been of zero worth to me but now I’m going to print out your post and try it again. In the past people would do it and say they could see the break and I saw nothing - like those 3-D hidden pictures.

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  • rufus manglerrufus mangler  1727WRX Points: 165Members Posts: 1,727
    Joined:  edited Jan 16, 2020 7:50pm #15

    For you plumbobbers out there, this has worked for me, especially on 3-5' putts.

    Plumb bob the line. Once you have it, and while still holding the putter up, pick something out 2-3' in front of you (speck of sand, discoloration, etc) and line up to it.

    Now you can just concentrate on the speed and hit the putt.

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    Post edited by rufus mangler on

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  • RP40RP40  141WRX Points: 116Members Posts: 141
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    🤣 😂 🤣

    Sure they will, if you hold them so the toe of the club is pointed at you.

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  • bladehunterbladehunter Today was a good day... south carolina 29592WRX Points: 6,083Handicap: NONEMembers Posts: 29,592
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    Yes. But true “ plumb “ isn’t manipulated. That was my point.

    But sure it can work we enough a few degrees either way.

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  • RP40RP40  141WRX Points: 116Members Posts: 141
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    Well, if your arguing a few degrees either way, only a center-shafted putter will hang straight.

    Otherwise, plumb-bombing isn't intended to exact, any more than the guys who stand behind their ball and announce, "my left foot is 1/8" lower than might right, so this putt breaks right to left."

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  • groovyduveygroovyduvey  23WRX Points: 16Members Posts: 23
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    I've found that rotating my putter until it looks 'plumb' from my perspective (verified by using a door frame) is effective enough for this technique.

    Its def not an exact science that works in all instances. But if you spend the time to get a feel for it helps get a better read in a shorter amount of time.

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  • cxxcxx  3224WRX Points: 223Members Posts: 3,224
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    Every putter will hang straight at the right angle. Find it by using a door jam (hopefully vertical or you have bigger problems) or balance the putter on your finger. At this angle there is equal weight on both sides. It's really easy.

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  • msd71msd71  722WRX Points: 112Handicap: 1Members Posts: 722
    Joined:  edited Jan 17, 2020 3:26pm #21

    Hold a putter up for plumb bobbing. Say it leans to the left. Turn the shaft 180*, and now it leans to the right.

    Therfore there is some rotation of the shaft that will make it hang perfectly vertical from your perspective, because that leaning didn't just flip suddenly from left to right, it swept gradually. Find the proper rotation, put a little mark on the grip, and you are good to go. No matter how oddly balanced your putter is.

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