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Great Drill: Finding the Straight Uphill Putt from 6'


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Are you looking to improve your putting technique and green reading skills? I can't promise anything, but here's a drill and some thoughts that have worked for me. All of this assumes that you have a good quality putter that reasonably fits you, etc, etc, etc...

Another disclaimer, I can't claim credit for this drill, of course - I heard about this from Mike Malaska (who I'm sure adopted it from someone else).

 

In any event, this is a drill...something that I do as the basis for any warm up or practice session.  

 

The process and goal are simple.

 

Walk up to a random hole on the putting green and find the straight uphill putt from six feet. Throw down three balls and find out how "right" you are. Aim dead center. Can you put three in the hole in a row? If you miss, what was the problem? 

 

Is it read? Adjust your spot to find the straight putt. 

 

Is it technique? Can't fix that for you, but at least now you know. 

 

Now, once you get to the point where both read and technique are working...you want to test how durable that technique is? Will it hold up over time and under pressure? Keep putting until can put the ball in the hole reliably...like 15 times.

 

And I'm not talking "rake and putt" nonsense here. Force yourself to go through your full process every single putt. If you can sink 15 in a row, how confident are you going to feel about your process then? Take that confidence to the first tee. 

 

Now if you want to take this drill further and really learn something about putting - push this same drill out to about 15 feet. It also helps if you are doing this on the practice green at the local muni.

 

NOW SEE HOW MANY YOU CAN SINK IN A ROW.....😀 

 

When you push distances out to that range - OMG do the variables multiply...

 

If you miss a putt from 15' by an inch and a half low at the cup...what degree of error did you make at contact? either in your line, stroke path, or speed? .05%???? Less????

 

Beyond that, how much might that old ball mark, spike mark, grass grain, random chance, Vishnu himself,  etc. impact upon that ball's path towards the hole over that distance? The mind boggles...

 

Have you ever sat there and hit 10 putts in a row from like 6' and witnessed a variety of break tendencies around the hole? I know I have. Holy crap. 

 

So yeah, spend some time at the putting green. You learn both how easy and how hard this game can be. 😁

Edited by jholz
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15 minutes ago, jholz said:

Are you looking to improve your putting technique and green reading skills? I can't promise anything, but here's a drill and some thoughts that have worked for me. All of this assumes that you have a good quality putter that reasonably fits you, etc, etc, etc...

 

Walk up to a random hole on the putting green and find the straight uphill putt from six feet. Throw down three balls and find out how "right" you are. Aim dead center. Can you put three in the hole in a row?

Alternate 'drill' that is only related to green reading and removes all of the putting technique variables (that you have to practice also, of course) - find the 8 feet straight uphill or downhill putt and use a stimpmeter to figure it out... Find the process, whatever it is, that allows you to confirm this, to ensure you always see the fall line... and then expand to breaking putts, uphill, downhill slick ones - to figure out how to find your aimpoint. This allows to practice aim and putting technique afterwards without having read doubts. 

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A 1* aiming error at 10 feet assuming your aim is at the middle of the hole will burn the edge, also assuming perfect greens. 2* and you dont even touch the hole.

 

Sometimes a bit of humility on the putting green can help some guys as most golfers overestimate how good they are.

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Making an uphill 6-footer doesn’t confirm you picked the right fall line. You could slightly push or pull the putt and make it, or hit it straight and firm and not notice any break.

 

Confirming your fall line guess is best done by rolling the ball slowly from the cup towards a mark where you think the low point is. 

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8 minutes ago, GungHoGolf said:

Making an uphill 6-footer doesn’t confirm you picked the right fall line. You could slightly push or pull the putt and make it, or hit it straight and firm and not notice any break.

 

Confirming your fall line guess is best done by rolling the ball slowly from the cup towards a mark where you think the low point is. 

 

It isn't about one or the other - it's both and everything else mon frer. Experiential learning. 

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3 minutes ago, jholz said:

 

It isn't about one or the other - it's both and everything else mon frer. Experiential learning. 

Got it. My point was, if you’re going to practice a straight putt, first you better make sure it’s actually straight. Otherwise you won’t know why you made or missed it.

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2 hours ago, Varry_Hardon said:

find the 8 feet straight uphill or downhill putt and use a stimpmeter to figure it out..

Sounds good, but what if you don't have a stimpmeter?  Improvise a small piece of Hot Wheels plastic track?  Get a level and find where the slope is that way?

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21 minutes ago, Jayjay_theweim_guy said:

Sounds good, but what if you don't have a stimpmeter?  Improvise a small piece of Hot Wheels plastic track?  Get a level and find where the slope is that way?

Good point, love the Hot Wheel suggestion haha. Actually anything that will roll a ball dead straight long enough to see if you can find the fall line on your own, figure out if your reads are the problem or if it's aim, technique related

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2 hours ago, Jayjay_theweim_guy said:

Sounds good, but what if you don't have a stimpmeter?  Improvise a small piece of Hot Wheels plastic track?  Get a level and find where the slope is that way?

Hot Wheels track won’t guide the ball on a straight enough line. Use 3/8”x1/2” aluminum C-channel for $12 at Home Depot. Use a hacksaw to cut a shallow angle on one end for the ball to roll off smoothly. You can make two of them from one piece of this:

 

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt-3-8-in-W-x-1-2-in-H-x-96-in-L-Aluminum-C-Channel-with-1-16-in-Thick-800547/204273936

 

For extra utility, you can cut a v-shape notch at a “certain” depth and distance from the end to hold a ball until you’ve raised it high enough to make a Stimpmeter roll. I made one that matches up perfectly to an official Stimpmeter. It’s light enough to keep in your bag for pre-tourney green testing - use an alignment stick cover on the sharp end. If anyone’s interested I’ll dig it out and take measurements. 

 

Or if all you’re trying to do is find a straight putt line, like you said, use a level. The free Clinometer app for your smartphone is what I use for Aimpoint practice, since I always have my phone with me - just make sure the back of your phone is flat. Most phones have camera bumps on one end that will skew readings, but there are phone cases which are flat. 

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Walk back and forth through the expected low point, on an arc at 6 feet.  You’ll feel where down changes to up. That’s the low point, which gives you a straight putt.

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8 hours ago, jholz said:

 

It isn't about one or the other - it's both and everything else mon frer. Experiential learning. 

Practicing 2 or 3 skills(green reading, stroke mechanics and aiming) at once is a recipe for disaster for many. 

 

How do you know that you've actually fixed a problem vs added another compensation somewhere else?

 

 

 

 

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20 hours ago, GungHoGolf said:

Got it. My point was, if you’re going to practice a straight putt, first you better make sure it’s actually straight. Otherwise you won’t know why you made or missed it.

Lot of other drills you can do that doesnt necessitate a straight putt. If you do a chalk line on any random spot on the green and if your putt doesnt stay on the the line more than a foot or so, you know if you pulled or pushed the put. You can do gate drills where you place two tees just over a ball width apart and try to split the tees with your putt from various distances. Line of the ball gives instant feedback if youve cut for drew the putt.

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11 hours ago, againstthegrain said:

Practicing 2 or 3 skills(green reading, stroke mechanics and aiming) at once is a recipe for disaster for many. 

 

How do you know that you've actually fixed a problem vs added another compensation somewhere else?

 

 

 

 

 

I completely disagree with the first statement obviously.

 

But, there are certainly times and places for all sorts of practice modes or drills within putting or any other aspect of the game.

 

The drill that I presented isn't necessarily intended to do any of the things you mention. 

 

Which leads to the second statement - I'm not suggesting anyone use this drill to "fix" anything. 

 

It's about building confidence in your process - as well as a useful too for identifying potential weaknesses in any of the player's basic skills.   

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7 hours ago, jholz said:

 

I completely disagree with the first statement obviously.

 

But, there are certainly times and places for all sorts of practice modes or drills within putting or any other aspect of the game.

 

The drill that I presented isn't necessarily intended to do any of the things you mention. 

 

Which leads to the second statement - I'm not suggesting anyone use this drill to "fix" anything. 

 

It's about building confidence in your process - as well as a useful too for identifying potential weaknesses in any of the player's basic skills.   

 

What "weaknesses in any of the player's basic skills" would your drill reveal?

 

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This is how I start literally every session on the putting green, if I'm going to practice or play, doesn't matter.   

 

Mostly to check how I "see" the line and my aim.   I find that quite often my first few putts go right, mostly because I think I don't see it correctly, its almost like I have to recalibrate what my brain thinks is straight alignment to the hole.  It doesn't take long, but once I check this and get it right, I should feel like I can stand there all day and not miss.   I then  go and hit downhill 6 footers doing the same thing.   Then find a big breaking putt and practice right to left, then left to right, then circle around the hole.  Then several long putts for feel, then I'm ready to go. 

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15 hours ago, againstthegrain said:

 

What "weaknesses in any of the player's basic skills" would your drill reveal?

 

 

Person above does a pretty good job of answering that question. ^^^

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I wouldn’t beat yourself up about it. You’re probably not putting on tour quality greens (variability), and we’re different every day. Our eyesight, body alignment, rhythm, etc., changes.

 

You can’t test the fall line on the course. You're just calibrating yourself before a round.

 

Don't be afraid to adjust things.

 

Putting has always been speed and line and will always be speed and line.

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