Hello golfers and welcome to this week’s tips & tricks. We are going back to putting this week and something that people underestimate the importance of. Pace putting is one of the key factors for good putting and ultimately good scoring. Therefore knowing what factors are involved in pace putting is crucial.
The most important part is the speed of the putter but that is not what we are going to consider this week. Another factor that we will partly consider is the strike. This is very commonly overlooked but does play a part in controlling the pace of the putt.
We are going to look at the loft and launch angle of the putt this week. This may baffle some people because you thought the putter face was flat and the ball rolls flat across the floor. Most putters are actually built with between 2 and 4 degrees of loft. This is to get the ball out of the grass the ball is sitting in. Unless you’re playing at Augusta (or practicing on The Mill) there is going to be at least a few mm of grass that the ball will sit in. In the winter there is also likely to be more grass than the summer. (Greenkeepers like to protect their grass in the cold months).
Using the camera on your phone is a great way to see how much loft you deliver at impact and whether you are hitting up or down on the ball. This is an old video from my training at the Belfry so the quality is not the best but phone cameras are now amazing at capturing slow motion. On you video notice how the ball initially jumps off the clubface and then after a few inches starts to bounce. Understanding this is important when looking at pace putting.
The aim with putting is to get the ball rolling along the surface as soon as possible. If too much loft is delivered at impact the ball will instantly jump in the air and skid across the surface, not finding pure roll soon enough. Delivering too little loft will hit the ball straight into the ground, jumping the ball up in the air creating too much topspin, bouncing the ball towards the hole. Both too much and too little loft at impact can cause issues with controlling the pace.
Like full shots, finding the middle of the clubface is the main aim. Anywhere but the middle will change the ball speed. Too high and too low on the face can also change the dynamic loft and angle the ball comes off the clubface changing the pace.
Film your putting stroke in slow motion and see how the ball comes off the clubface. If the ball isn’t rolling pure along the surface within a few inches your pace putting will be off. Try to control the structure in the wrists when you putt. Don’t be tense and tight but try not to let the wrists flick at the ball. This really changes the amount of loft on the putter making distance control difficult. Use just the shoulders to create a pendulum motion with the putter. Try to create good rhythm and a stroke that has a similar backswing and follow through. All of these small factors play a huge role in pace putting.
The weather is improving, the ground conditions are changing, pace putting is going to be key to good scoring through the summer months. If you understand your putting stroke and how to control the strike and loft, pace putting gets easier. Video your stroke and see how the ball reacts with the clubface. If it launches in the air too quick there’s too much loft, if it hits into the floor and bounces there is not enough loft.
Get on the putting green at your golf course and work on rhythm and timing with putting. A round can still be saved with good putting. There is nothing more frustrating than hitting great shots into greens then 3 putting from 15 feet. The putter is the most used club in the bag (fact) and you need to understand how use it properly.
For advice on putting technique or if you’re in the market for a new putter come and see me.