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What does it take to break 70?


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53 minutes ago, Ty_Webb said:

 

Scott Fawcett has a thing about Phil Mickelson. Phil said that he was holing out really well and that was enabling him to be aggressive over his 20-30 footers. For the tournament in question, Phil had hit ten 20-30 foot putts He holed 2 of them, hit 2 past the hole, left one spot on hole high and left five of them short. Of his putts from 10-30 feet. 26 of them in total, only three had gone more than 18 inches past the hole. He holed 6 of them, so we don't know how far past those would have gone, but he was certainly not hitting them well past the hole. 

Sure. But trying to hole a thirty footer doesn’t mean hitting a putt harder, necessarily. 
 

This is similar to the point I was making about making more 3s. A lot of golf, a most successes in golf, have to do with mindset. Confidence, visualization, execution.  All are much, much easier and more effective when your mindset is one that is positive and ..... aggressive isn’t the right word. Maybe assertive. 
 

Make more threes. Hole more putts. Hit shots closer. Shoot lower. Mindset is invaluable. 

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I trot this out once or twice a year. Have gotten some good feedback on it over the years. Hope it helps... ? **************   I first wrote this article back in 2005(?) when I was play

Well the patience paid off and what's funny is I still left 3 or 4 strokes on the course.....    

Usually once you stop trying break 70 it just happens.  You have to be comfortable going low and staying there. The more you pay attention to where you are relative to par the tighter you will ge

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1 hour ago, DShepley said:

I fit in your category of a guy who used to play to a plus, (albeit on a relatively easy course), who now plays to a 1 handicap and balancing young kids, life and a playing schedule of only 2 rounds per week and very little practice.  My short game and putting is 100% what has kept me there.  That and the fact that I still believe that I am a better player than what I show; believing that you are better is key to improving...if you settle you won't improve.  Part of improving is to truly believe that you left some out there and next time you will get them.  

 

With respect to putting, I feel what separates the best putters I know from the average are that the best log lots of hours practice inside 8 feet.  You have to make most of these!  Further to this, I don't know ONE excellent putter who is ever trying to get a putt down in two!  If they have a putter in their hand, they are trying to make the putt...not hit it close.  This works because they have all sorts of confidence inside 8 feet.  This leads to occasional putts made from the 20 - 30 foot range.


My putting entered a whole new realm when I stopped leaving putts short from inside 30 feet. I almost never do anymore unless it is an especially tricky or slick putt. 

 

I've hit more putts 2 feet past in the last two years than I have in the past 30 years combined. 

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10 hours ago, DShepley said:

I bet he was trying to make them all and not trying to lag them close.  You don't have to charge a putt in trying to make it, in fact, when I see most players in a doubles match try to take break out of a putt and hit it hard because their partner is already in for par, they almost always miss.  It's because they are switching to a method of putting that they never use.  The best putters aren't worried about how far they are leaving themselves, three putting doesn't cross their mind and intentional lagging doesn't either.  They may give some putts more attention than others but I don't think they are ever just trying to get it close.

 

Okay, I guess I'm not sure I understand the relevance of "trying to make it" then. Sure they are trying to make it, but I don't think it has anything to do with confidence inside 8 feet. If the hole is in the middle of the green and you're 200 out in the fairway, you're "trying to make it", but you'd still be plenty pleased to see it wind up 5 feet from the hole. That doesn't mean you weren't trying to make it. I'm saying that the best putters from much outside 20 feet are trying to hit it roughly hole high or maybe a hair past it, not 2-3 feet past it. Maybe I misunderstood what you're saying, but whether or not you are good inside 8 feet doesn't seem relevant unless the insinuation is that you can be aggressive and not be worried about the one coming back.

 

It's more important to have good speed than to be good from 8 feet if you want to hole 20+ foot putts. Aside from anything else, if your speed is off from that distance you'll leave too many short or too many will lip out (because they're carrying too much speed at the hole). The better your speed control is the more putts you can hit past the hole - if you have a 4' long shot pattern from 20' then hitting 100% of your putts by the hole means you'll have 4 footers back and people miss those from time to time. If you have a 2' long shot pattern then you can hit all of them to the hole and you'll never have more than 2 feet coming back. 2' long shot pattern from 20 feet is pretty spectacular I think.

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12 hours ago, b.helts said:

Sure. But trying to hole a thirty footer doesn’t mean hitting a putt harder, necessarily. 
 

This is similar to the point I was making about making more 3s. A lot of golf, a most successes in golf, have to do with mindset. Confidence, visualization, execution.  All are much, much easier and more effective when your mindset is one that is positive and ..... aggressive isn’t the right word. Maybe assertive. 
 

Make more threes. Hole more putts. Hit shots closer. Shoot lower. Mindset is invaluable. 

 

One thing Scott likes to say is being aggressive to your spots. On a 30 foot putt, that might very well mean being aggressive to the hole. 

 

I do hear what you're saying and I agree with it. Mindset to me makes a huge difference. One thing I catch myself doing from time to time is when looking at a 40 foot putt let's say, I look at my line up to the hole. That's where I'm trying to hit it to, but in my subconscious I think I see the hole as the end of the line and so I interpret that as meaning that should be the longest I hit it. Consequently I hit a lot short. That means you wind up with lots of 4-5 footers from short of the hole. Picturing the line going out past the hole by a couple of feet helps to "allow" me to hit the ball past the hole and as a result I wind up closer on average. I'm still trying to stop the ball at the hole on a putt that long, but allowing myself to err on the long side definitely helps. 

 

Obee - that's interesting. Next time you're on the putting green, would you try something? Put a coin down on the ground, then pace off ten paces and hit ten putts trying to hit them to the coin. Then measure the distance between the longest one and the shortest one. Report back?

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2 hours ago, Ty_Webb said:

 

Okay, I guess I'm not sure I understand the relevance of "trying to make it" then. Sure they are trying to make it, but I don't think it has anything to do with confidence inside 8 feet. If the hole is in the middle of the green and you're 200 out in the fairway, you're "trying to make it", but you'd still be plenty pleased to see it wind up 5 feet from the hole. That doesn't mean you weren't trying to make it. I'm saying that the best putters from much outside 20 feet are trying to hit it roughly hole high or maybe a hair past it, not 2-3 feet past it. Maybe I misunderstood what you're saying, but whether or not you are good inside 8 feet doesn't seem relevant unless the insinuation is that you can be aggressive and not be worried about the one coming back.

 

It's more important to have good speed than to be good from 8 feet if you want to hole 20+ foot putts. Aside from anything else, if your speed is off from that distance you'll leave too many short or too many will lip out (because they're carrying too much speed at the hole). The better your speed control is the more putts you can hit past the hole - if you have a 4' long shot pattern from 20' then hitting 100% of your putts by the hole means you'll have 4 footers back and people miss those from time to time. If you have a 2' long shot pattern then you can hit all of them to the hole and you'll never have more than 2 feet coming back. 2' long shot pattern from 20 feet is pretty spectacular I think.

What I mean about trying to make it is just that.  He isn't standing over a putt with the intent to just lag it close, he is standing over a putt trying to hole it.  You don't have to be super aggressive to try to make a putt.  The WORST piece of putting advice I have ever heard a pro give was to tell people to save strokes and avoid three putting by trying to lag long putts into a 3 foot circle!  This creates a mindset where you are trying to miss a putt...and if you miss the 3 foot circle by 2 feet, you have left yourself 5 feet.  Also, what is a long putt?  I used to play frequently with another low handicapper from our club who hit everything with die weight and from 20 feet, he would lag his putts, just happy to get down in two.  The number of makeable putts he left short in the heart was mind numbing!

 

Crappy putters try to lag it close and leave themselves tap ins....the best putters spend almost all of their putting practice inside 10 feet and don't think about lagging because they have all kinds of confidence with whatever they leave themselves.  It doesn't mean they are going to hit a 20 footer 4 feet past the hole, it means that the thought of what they are going to leave themselves doesn't cross their mind.  I don't know ANY excellent putters who worry much about what distance they are going to leave themselves if they miss, (unless it is a severely downhill putt), because they aren't trying to miss.  The BEST way to avoid three putts and to turn three shots into two, is to camp out in a five foot circle on the practice green for an hour or more per week and learn how to make most of them.  This makes chipping easier, and long putting easier.

 

"I'm saying that the best putters from much outside 20 feet are trying to hit it roughly hole high or maybe a hair past it, not 2-3 feet past it. Maybe I misunderstood what you're saying, but whether or not you are good inside 8 feet doesn't seem relevant unless the insinuation is that you can be aggressive and not be worried about the one coming back" -- The best putters from much outside 20 feet are trying to MAKE the putt, they aren't thinking about getting it a hair past, they are thinking about getting it in the bottom of the hole, their pace control is natural to them and their confidence in making most of their putts inside say 5 feet allows them this mindset.

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11 minutes ago, DShepley said:

What I mean about trying to make it is just that.  He isn't standing over a putt with the intent to just lag it close, he is standing over a putt trying to hole it.  You don't have to be super aggressive to try to make a putt.  The WORST piece of putting advice I have ever heard a pro give was to tell people to save strokes and avoid three putting by trying to lag long putts into a 3 foot circle!  This creates a mindset where you are trying to miss a putt...and if you miss the 3 foot circle by 2 feet, you have left yourself 5 feet.  Also, what is a long putt?  I used to play frequently with another low handicapper from our club who hit everything with die weight and from 20 feet, he would lag his putts, just happy to get down in two.  The number of makeable putts he left short in the heart was mind numbing!

 

Crappy putters try to lag it close and leave themselves tap ins....the best putters spend almost all of their putting practice inside 10 feet and don't think about lagging because they have all kinds of confidence with whatever they leave themselves.  It doesn't mean they are going to hit a 20 footer 4 feet past the hole, it means that the thought of what they are going to leave themselves doesn't cross their mind.  I don't know ANY excellent putters who worry much about what distance they are going to leave themselves if they miss, (unless it is a severely downhill putt), because they aren't trying to miss.  The BEST way to avoid three putts and to turn three shots into two, is to camp out in a five foot circle on the practice green for an hour or more per week and learn how to make most of them.  This makes chipping easier, and long putting easier.

 

"I'm saying that the best putters from much outside 20 feet are trying to hit it roughly hole high or maybe a hair past it, not 2-3 feet past it. Maybe I misunderstood what you're saying, but whether or not you are good inside 8 feet doesn't seem relevant unless the insinuation is that you can be aggressive and not be worried about the one coming back" -- The best putters from much outside 20 feet are trying to MAKE the putt, they aren't thinking about getting it a hair past, they are thinking about getting it in the bottom of the hole, their pace control is natural to them and their confidence in making most of their putts inside say 5 feet allows them this mindset.

 

I absolutely try to MAKE every putt. The SPEED at which I'm trying to make them, and the LINE on which I'm trying to make them varies greatly from putt to putt.

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2 minutes ago, DShepley said:

What I mean about trying to make it is just that.  He isn't standing over a putt with the intent to just lag it close, he is standing over a putt trying to hole it.  You don't have to be super aggressive to try to make a putt.  The WORST piece of putting advice I have ever heard a pro give was to tell people to save strokes and avoid three putting by trying to lag long putts into a 3 foot circle!  This creates a mindset where you are trying to miss a putt...and if you miss the 3 foot circle by 2 feet, you have left yourself 5 feet.  Also, what is a long putt?  I used to play frequently with another low handicapper from our club who hit everything with die weight and from 20 feet, he would lag his putts, just happy to get down in two.  The number of makeable putts he left short in the heart was mind numbing!

 

Crappy putters try to lag it close and leave themselves tap ins....the best putters spend almost all of their putting practice inside 10 feet and don't think about lagging because they have all kinds of confidence with whatever they leave themselves.  It doesn't mean they are going to hit a 20 footer 4 feet past the hole, it means that the thought of what they are going to leave themselves doesn't cross their mind.  I don't know ANY excellent putters who worry much about what distance they are going to leave themselves if they miss, (unless it is a severely downhill putt), because they aren't trying to miss.  The BEST way to avoid three putts and to turn three shots into two, is to camp out in a five foot circle on the practice green for an hour or more per week and learn how to make most of them.  This makes chipping easier, and long putting easier.

 

"I'm saying that the best putters from much outside 20 feet are trying to hit it roughly hole high or maybe a hair past it, not 2-3 feet past it. Maybe I misunderstood what you're saying, but whether or not you are good inside 8 feet doesn't seem relevant unless the insinuation is that you can be aggressive and not be worried about the one coming back" -- The best putters from much outside 20 feet are trying to MAKE the putt, they aren't thinking about getting it a hair past, they are thinking about getting it in the bottom of the hole, their pace control is natural to them and their confidence in making most of their putts inside say 5 feet allows them this mindset.

 

If you're not focused on how fast the ball is going to be going at the hole, then you're not maximising your chances to make the putt. A putt that's rolling 3 feet by has a much smaller capture area than a putt that's rolling 1 foot by. If you have a ten foot putt, your goal should be to have the ball get to the hole with a speed that maximises the chances of it going in. The longer that first putt gets, the more having a speed of 2 feet by is going to increase your chances of three putting. 

 

DECADE data shows that the worst rounds for strokes gained putting on 30+ foot putts are also the rounds with the fewest putts left short of the hole. That's for college players. The information is out there if you want to find it. The mindset I'm trying to get to is what shot here minimizes my likely score. On a 40 foot putt that's trying to get it dead. If it's actually dead and I get the line right, it will go in. Likewise all the ones that go within about three feet past will go in. The ones that wind up short won't go in, but I'm unlikely to three putt them. That's gaining strokes against the PGA tour. If you're trying to make sure you get every putt you hit to the hole, then some of them will lip out and some you'll miss the comeback putt. That's not a good goal. Unless you have otherworldly speed control, but you're not going to develop that by practising 5 foot putts.

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Following this with much interest. Hovering between a 4 and 5 index. Level par is my best so far. True issue is with putting. I’m not long, 245-255 in average but almost always am on or close to the fairway. I like my approach and wedge play but really stink (mentally and physically) at pitting. 
 

here’s my question to this group: what have you done to make putting fun? Such that you want to practice it and look forward to your time on the green during a round. 
 

I would be absolutely fine if golf was, closest to the hole without a putter. 

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In my opinion the trying to make it from 30 feet thing is more semantics than mindset.  From that distance and longer I am  focused almost entirely on speed. A foot or two past is ideal. I do make my sure but I call that distance and longer depth charges. I am always trying to get the ball past the hole with the option to fall if the line is perfect.

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33 minutes ago, Ty_Webb said:

 

If you're not focused on how fast the ball is going to be going at the hole, then you're not maximising your chances to make the putt. A putt that's rolling 3 feet by has a much smaller capture area than a putt that's rolling 1 foot by. If you have a ten foot putt, your goal should be to have the ball get to the hole with a speed that maximises the chances of it going in. The longer that first putt gets, the more having a speed of 2 feet by is going to increase your chances of three putting. 

 

DECADE data shows that the worst rounds for strokes gained putting on 30+ foot putts are also the rounds with the fewest putts left short of the hole. That's for college players. The information is out there if you want to find it. The mindset I'm trying to get to is what shot here minimizes my likely score. On a 40 foot putt that's trying to get it dead. If it's actually dead and I get the line right, it will go in. Likewise all the ones that go within about three feet past will go in. The ones that wind up short won't go in, but I'm unlikely to three putt them. That's gaining strokes against the PGA tour. If you're trying to make sure you get every putt you hit to the hole, then some of them will lip out and some you'll miss the comeback putt. That's not a good goal. Unless you have otherworldly speed control, but you're not going to develop that by practising 5 foot putts.

The best putters I know don't think much about pace.  They are natural and react to the line they have set up on.  On tour you see guys pick a line, look at the hole and hit it quickly when their eyes get back to the ball.  If you get out of your brains way, it will hit the putt the correct speed, (or close to it), for the line you chose.  This is why you see some putts hit the back of the hole and fall, and some die over the edge from the same player.  Everyone has feel, it's built into us.  If I stood 10 feet from you and asked you to toss a golf ball to my hands, you wouldn't miss my hands by much and you wouldn't have to give it any thought, you would just react.  Your brain will do the same thing with putting pace if you get out of it's way...but, if you are focused on something when you hit the putt, (like pace), there is a good chance you neglect your line, and if you are focused only on line, there is a good chance you will miss judge your speed.  When I ask the best putters I know what they are thinking about when they putt, they all have a clear mind and don't have a swing thought.  The old, "fell in love with the line", cliche.  I don't practice pace control by hitting 5 footers, but I also don't practice pace control by hitting to a hole, (I don't like to practice missing putts), but instead putt to a coin, or to the collar.  I do think though, that if before a round you hit say 50 putts starting in a circle of about 2 feet and moving out to 8 feet, you would develop pretty good pace control and hit your first 20 footer pretty close without thinking about it.

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Averaging 30 putts a round this year. 1 handicap. Lowest I’ve ever been. Best I’ve ever putted. Never take a practice stroke with putter. Visualize the putt, get over it and putt. Much different approach then I have when hitting a normal shot. But probably why I’ve been better. There is no thought besides putt it on line.

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22 minutes ago, Jimi Thing said:

Following this with much interest. Hovering between a 4 and 5 index. Level par is my best so far. True issue is with putting. I’m not long, 245-255 in average but almost always am on or close to the fairway. I like my approach and wedge play but really stink (mentally and physically) at pitting. 
 

here’s my question to this group: what have you done to make putting fun? Such that you want to practice it and look forward to your time on the green during a round. 
 

I would be absolutely fine if golf was, closest to the hole without a putter. 

Do this....Never practice in a scenario where you will see the majority of your putts miss...this is bad for confidence.  Spend lots of time dropping 5 or 6 balls in a circle around the hole starting at about 2 feet.  Go around the circle knocking putts in and if you miss one, hit it again until you make it.  When 2 feet becomes easy, move to 3 feet, then to 4 feet, etc, but stop moving further away when you miss more than say 2 of the 6 consistently.  This approach is from Rotella.  Putting is about confidence and it should be a reaction, not something that requires tons of thought.  Notice next time you are at a club, the amount of people who drop a sleeve of balls 15 feet from the hole on the practice green, hit 20 putts and go to the first tee having only seen one or two balls go in the hole....They are practicing missing not making putts.  Now, if you spend 10 minutes going in a circle around the hole making 50 putts from between 3 and 5 feet, I bet you will find that you have a much more likely chance of making the 15 footer on the first hole.  For pace control, putt to the collar of the green, a tee in the ground, or a coin, but DON'T create practice scenarios where you see yourself miss most of your putts.  Seriously....before your next round, go to the practice green and knock in 50, three foot putts going in a circle around the hole, then report back.  This will get you to a point where you can walk up, and knock it in without much thought.  FILL THE HOLE UP IN PRACTICE!

 

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2 hours ago, Obee said:

 

I absolutely try to MAKE every putt. The SPEED at which I'm trying to make them, and the LINE on which I'm trying to make them varies greatly from putt to putt.

 

One other thing: I used to NOT try to make every putt. What changed? I became a much better putter, mechanically. I can hit my ball at my line, on my speed much, much better than ever. Getting the ball to roll end-over-end was the thing for me. Now that I can do that, every putt FEELS makeable to me. That used to not be the case.

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no penalty strokes

more GIR

better short game, including no 3 putts

 

 

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20 hours ago, Jimi Thing said:

Following this with much interest. Hovering between a 4 and 5 index. Level par is my best so far. True issue is with putting. I’m not long, 245-255 in average but almost always am on or close to the fairway. I like my approach and wedge play but really stink (mentally and physically) at pitting. 
 

here’s my question to this group: what have you done to make putting fun? Such that you want to practice it and look forward to your time on the green during a round. 
 

I would be absolutely fine if golf was, closest to the hole without a putter. 

 

If I am by myself on the practice putting green, I play a game called par two. I go from hole to hole around the whole green and every one is a par two. If I three putt between holes I have to start over. I just see how far I can get or how many times around I can go.

 

If I am with my buddy we play a two games. 2 ball - 10 footers 2 chances to make, point per make, race to 7 points. 7-UP Lag putts, closest gets 1 point, make it get 2 points. You have to make your second putt or you lose a 1 point. Race to 7. 

 

We alternate those 2 games and play till we want to leave 🙂

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23 hours ago, Shilgy said:

In my opinion the trying to make it from 30 feet thing is more semantics than mindset.  From that distance and longer I am  focused almost entirely on speed. A foot or two past is ideal. I do make my sure but I call that distance and longer depth charges. I am always trying to get the ball past the hole with the option to fall if the line is perfect.

Yes on the semantics. thing, for sure.

 

That said, I am absolutely trying to make long putts, but at a very conservative speed. If I have a 30 footer straight up the hill with less than a couple cups of break, I am definitely trying to make it dead in the heart with enough speed to get the ball past the hole. But if that putt is downhill/sidehill, I'm trying to trickle it in using the max break.

 

Somebody earlier mentioned the confidence thing on 3 to 6 footers somehow helping with long putts. Unless you have been there, done that, it's hard to comprehend this, but I can tell you that I no longer fear 3 to 6-foot come backers, which allows me to putt my longer putts with much more confidence related to speed. I therefore make far more long putts than I ever have. It's crazy how many more, actually.

 

That is not to say, however, that I'm okay with leaving myself 5 feet. I don't ever want to do that. It's just that I no longer fear those putts so it's not the end of the world when I DO hit one too firm. And that's an important distinction. In the past, running one way by would result in an OVERcompensation on my part. I would get "fearful" or "anxious" and that would lead to crappy putting for the rest of the round in many cases. Just wanted to make sure that no one thinks I think jamming a 45 foot 6 feet by is something to aim for. LOL

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27 minutes ago, Obee said:

Yes on the semantics. thing, for sure.

 

That said, I am absolutely trying to make long putts, but at a very conservative speed. If I have a 30 footer straight up the hill with less than a couple cups of break, I am definitely trying to make it dead in the heart with enough speed to get the ball past the hole. But if that putt is downhill/sidehill, I'm trying to trickle it in using the max break.

 

Somebody earlier mentioned the confidence thing on 3 to 6 footers somehow helping with long putts. Unless you have been there, done that, it's hard to comprehend this, but I can tell you that I no longer fear 3 to 6-foot come backers, which allows me to putt my longer putts with much more confidence related to speed. I therefore make far more long putts than I ever have. It's crazy how many more, actually.

 

That is not to say, however, that I'm okay with leaving myself 5 feet. I don't ever want to do that. It's just that I no longer fear those putts so it's not the end of the world when I DO hit one too firm. And that's an important distinction. In the past, running one way by would result in an OVERcompensation on my part. I would get "fearful" or "anxious" and that would lead to crappy putting for the rest of the round in many cases. Just wanted to make sure that no one thinks I think jamming a 45 foot 6 feet by is something to aim for. LOL

I agree @obee and it was me who mentioned about the confidence on 3 to 6 footers.  Not worrying about them is freeing on both putting and chipping.  Let me ask you this...if I interpret above correctly, you use the line to set your speed.  So, once you are set up to your line and over the ball, do you have a clear mind when you pull the trigger?  By that I mean, are you thinking about line or speed, or just reacting to your set up and the hole?

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23 hours ago, DShepley said:

The best putters I know don't think much about pace.  They are natural and react to the line they have set up on.  On tour you see guys pick a line, look at the hole and hit it quickly when their eyes get back to the ball.  If you get out of your brains way, it will hit the putt the correct speed, (or close to it), for the line you chose.  This is why you see some putts hit the back of the hole and fall, and some die over the edge from the same player.  Everyone has feel, it's built into us.  If I stood 10 feet from you and asked you to toss a golf ball to my hands, you wouldn't miss my hands by much and you wouldn't have to give it any thought, you would just react.  Your brain will do the same thing with putting pace if you get out of it's way...but, if you are focused on something when you hit the putt, (like pace), there is a good chance you neglect your line, and if you are focused only on line, there is a good chance you will miss judge your speed.  When I ask the best putters I know what they are thinking about when they putt, they all have a clear mind and don't have a swing thought.  The old, "fell in love with the line", cliche.  I don't practice pace control by hitting 5 footers, but I also don't practice pace control by hitting to a hole, (I don't like to practice missing putts), but instead putt to a coin, or to the collar.  I do think though, that if before a round you hit say 50 putts starting in a circle of about 2 feet and moving out to 8 feet, you would develop pretty good pace control and hit your first 20 footer pretty close without thinking about it.

 

There's a tremendous amount of good in this post. But I do want to say one thing respectfully, speed is KING in putting, without knowing how much or little speed one is going to take in their putt the line is irrelevant. I don't believe you are saying it's not, but rather speed is not a part of the swing thought when over the ball?

 

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19 minutes ago, erikalfstad said:

 

There's a tremendous amount of good in this post. But I do want to say one thing respectfully, speed is KING in putting, without knowing how much or little speed one is going to take in their putt the line is irrelevant. I don't believe you are saying it's not, but rather speed is not a part of the swing thought when over the ball?

 

From my perspective, yes, speed is king. 
 

But when talking about good putters and being a good putter, speed control is simply a prerequisite. You cannot be a good putter without quality speed control. As such, when I talk about making more putts, I am running with the assumption that speed control is already good. 

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17 minutes ago, erikalfstad said:

 

There's a tremendous amount of good in this post. But I do want to say one thing respectfully, speed is KING in putting, without knowing how much or little speed one is going to take in their putt the line is irrelevant. I don't believe you are saying it's not, but rather speed is not a part of the swing thought when over the ball?

 

Of course speed is king, you pick the line based on how much speed you want to play into the putt.  Once you set up to the line you picked, you simply react and get out of your mind's way.  If you are thinking about speed, or line during the act of your stroke....you're sunk.  Speed is part of your preparation, your 'read' of the putt and perhaps even part of your pre-shot practice stroke routine.  Once you are over the ball, you react, so for myself...speed is never part of a swing thought over the ball.  Once I set up to my target line, I quickly glance at the hole and when my gaze returns to the ball, I react....like tossing a piece of crumpled paper into the trash can.  I don't think about how far to take my arm back, how hard to throw it, I just do it.

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2 minutes ago, b.helts said:

From my perspective, yes, speed is king. 
 

But when talking about good putters and being a good putter, speed control is simply a prerequisite. You cannot be a good putter without quality speed control. As such, when I talk about making more putts, I am running with the assumption that speed control is already good. 

I'll say this....the best way to become good at long putts, is to become good at short putts first!  

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general rule... the longer the putt, the more you focus on pace... the shorter the putt, the more you focus on line.  both are obviously important.

 

 

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13 minutes ago, b.helts said:

From my perspective, yes, speed is king. 
 

But when talking about good putters and being a good putter, speed control is simply a prerequisite. You cannot be a good putter without quality speed control. As such, when I talk about making more putts, I am running with the assumption that speed control is already good. 

 

There are three pieces to putting I think. Line, speed and green reading. If two of them are good, but one is bad, you'll hole fewer putts than if one is good and two are bad, just by luck. If you read every putt perfectly and hit it perfect speed, but you start it 2 degrees left, then you'll miss everything. If you read every putt perfectly and start it on line perfectly, but miss your speed all the time, you'll only ever hole putts that are inside the hole. If you hit it perfect line and speed every time, but you're aiming in the wrong place because you read the green wrong, you're missing everything.

 

If you want to be a good putter, then all three of those are prerequisites. But I do think it's true that different players are better/worse at different parts of it. I think Spieth had fantastic speed control. That's why he holed so many long ones. But his starting line wasn't quite so good, so he was prone to missing more than perhaps he should in the 5-10 feet range. It's not that he was bad at it, but more that he wasn't quite as good as he was with the longer ones. For reference, in 2017 (about when he was good I think - I didn't look at other years), Spieth was T4th in putts over 20' and 116th in putts 5-10 feet. Other players are really good at starting it on line and they make a lot of putts in the 5-10 feet range, but their speed control isn't so good, so they don't make so many of the long ones. In 2017 (because it's the year I pulled the stats for), no one was in the top ten for both 5-10' and >20'. Koepka was 16th and 2nd respectively and Snedeker was 15th and T4 with JS. The top 10 in putts from 5-10' here is their rankings for >20' in order. 119, 173, 133, 80, T68, 29, 147, T122, 86, 91. Corresponding numbers the other way are: 138, 16, 160, 15, 116, 20, 155, 60, 59, 61. 

 

For what it's worth I don't see a big correlation between either one and total SGP. There is a mix and a match of them. Fowler led SGP in 2017 and was 21st (5-10) and 12th (>20). Koepka and Snedeker also both top seven. 

 

I'd say the answer is it's a little of both. I feel comfortable saying that the guys who hole a lot of 20+ footers aren't doing so because they hole a lot of 5-10 footers. Otherwise they'd match much more closely. If anything their worse than average (of the top ten from 5-10', only one is better than T68 and 5 of them are worse than 100th). Most likely IMO people are better at one or the other and that's what dictates where their strength lies. Speed or line, but rarely both. 

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54 minutes ago, DShepley said:

Of course speed is king, you pick the line based on how much speed you want to play into the putt.  Once you set up to the line you picked, you simply react and get out of your mind's way.  If you are thinking about speed, or line during the act of your stroke....you're sunk.  Speed is part of your preparation, your 'read' of the putt and perhaps even part of your pre-shot practice stroke routine.  Once you are over the ball, you react, so for myself...speed is never part of a swing thought over the ball.  Once I set up to my target line, I quickly glance at the hole and when my gaze returns to the ball, I react....like tossing a piece of crumpled paper into the trash can.  I don't think about how far to take my arm back, how hard to throw it, I just do it.

So I think we agree...you are thinking primarily about pace when putting but not “how” to do it.  That is what I was saying and @bheltssaid as well. You cannot pick a line without knowing what pace you are hitting it. But once over the putt you react with the desired pace.

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2 hours ago, DShepley said:

I agree @obee and it was me who mentioned about the confidence on 3 to 6 footers.  Not worrying about them is freeing on both putting and chipping.  Let me ask you this...if I interpret above correctly, you use the line to set your speed.  So, once you are set up to your line and over the ball, do you have a clear mind when you pull the trigger?  By that I mean, are you thinking about line or speed, or just reacting to your set up and the hole?

 

Speed and line are integrally linked in my mind. On tough, breaking putts, my mind/eye automatically see a conservative "high" line, so it's hard to answer that question, actually. I would see speed first on tough putts, though.

 

But to answer you question, once I have the line in mind (which is determined by the speed I'm going to hit it), I'm just stroking the ball on my line, at my chosen speed. That's it. There is nothing else in my mind.

 

Another thing to ponder is that the difference between a 15-foot putt that barely drops into the hole ("die" speed), and a 15-foot putt that runs 12 inches past ("firm" speed) is only about 6% to 7% different in overall force or "effort." That's a very small amount of difference. But yet those 12-inches can mean the difference in a whole cup or more of break, depending on the putt and lines chosen.

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2 hours ago, b.helts said:

From my perspective, yes, speed is king. 
 

But when talking about good putters and being a good putter, speed control is simply a prerequisite. You cannot be a good putter without quality speed control. As such, when I talk about making more putts, I am running with the assumption that speed control is already good. 

Yes, this is essential. Can't be a good putter without speed control. Can't have speed control without being about to reliably hit the center of the face with your putting stroke.

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Just now, Obee said:

Yes, this is essential. Can't be a good putter without speed control. Can't have speed control without being about to reliably hit the center of the face with your putting stroke.

Agree entirely - would also add "squarely" to that. Glancing blow is not helpful. I speak from bitter personal experience. I have it fixed now, but my alignment is now off a little. I used to swing slightly out to in with a slightly open face, which was fairly effective at starting the ball online, but my speed was rarely good enough. Now I manage to get the ball rolling end over end, but I haven't got the hang of the new alignment yet. Need time and practice, but hardly get to play at the moment so it's hard.

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3 hours ago, Obee said:

 

Speed and line are integrally linked in my mind. On tough, breaking putts, my mind/eye automatically see a conservative "high" line, so it's hard to answer that question, actually. I would see speed first on tough putts, though.

 

But to answer you question, once I have the line in mind (which is determined by the speed I'm going to hit it), I'm just stroking the ball on my line, at my chosen speed. That's it. There is nothing else in my mind.

 

Another thing to ponder is that the difference between a 15-foot putt that barely drops into the hole ("die" speed), and a 15-foot putt that runs 12 inches past ("firm" speed) is only about 6% to 7% different in overall force or "effort." That's a very small amount of difference. But yet those 12-inches can mean the difference in a whole cup or more of break, depending on the putt and lines chosen.

Totally agree regarding the 6% to 7% difference in force.  To me this is why the clear mind and reaction are important.   When I read a breaking putt, I find the apex that I want to roll the ball through, then pick a starting line to reach that apex, (it is further out than the apex).  Then, behind the putt, I take a couple practice strokes visualizing the putt rolling through the apex and finishing in the hole.  Sometimes if I'm feeling really good about the putt, I actually can see a white line cast on the ground to match my read, (maybe I've played too many video games).  Once I set up I react to the chosen line sending the ball towards the apex. Now...often times there is a spot on the green that makes a very good marker for the apex, an old ball mark, a spot of poa, etc. This mark might be wide or narrow of the actual apex, but if I commit to it and react to the line it creates, a narrow read will react in more pace, while a wide read will react in less pace.  This is what I mean by your mind choosing the correct pace for the line you have chosen if you get out of it's way.  Putts can be made in multiple ways pace wise, so being decisive is important. 

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2 hours ago, DShepley said:

Totally agree regarding the 6% to 7% difference in force.  To me this is why the clear mind and reaction are important.   When I read a breaking putt, I find the apex that I want to roll the ball through, then pick a starting line to reach that apex, (it is further out than the apex).  Then, behind the putt, I take a couple practice strokes visualizing the putt rolling through the apex and finishing in the hole.  Sometimes if I'm feeling really good about the putt, I actually can see a white line cast on the ground to match my read, (maybe I've played too many video games).  Once I set up I react to the chosen line sending the ball towards the apex. Now...often times there is a spot on the green that makes a very good marker for the apex, an old ball mark, a spot of poa, etc. This mark might be wide or narrow of the actual apex, but if I commit to it and react to the line it creates, a narrow read will react in more pace, while a wide read will react in less pace.  This is what I mean by your mind choosing the correct pace for the line you have chosen if you get out of it's way.  Putts can be made in multiple ways pace wise, so being decisive is important. 

Decisiveness is huge. 

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