I played a round of golf recently in which I had
a very peculiar back nine. For nine holes, I did not hit a green
and shot even-par for that nine holes. I chipped well and putted even
better. I hit a similar number of greens on the front nine and did not
putt well. I wont tell you what my score was on the front nine.
This little story is an example of how many strokes you can save
on a round of golf when you are putting well. There are some basic and
fundamental issues with putting. All concepts in putting revolve around
two principles, distance and direction.
Distance with putting is
determined by length of back swing.
(Below) All putts are straight
putts (find the apex).
Lets talk about distance first. Distance is determined by length
of backstroke. Lay down four golf balls and putt toward any target on
the green. Putt one ball by taking the putter back four inches and then
four inches forward, toward the target.
As always, take the putter toward the target at least as far as you take
it back. Dont DECELERATE. Then in four-inch increments, putt the
last three golf balls, one from eight inches, one from 12 inches and one
from 16 inches. Distance is determined by how far back and how far through
you take the putter.
The other factor with effective putting is direction. There is no magic
formula for determining direction. However, a few tips might be helpful.
Consider this: Every putt is a straight putt. The key ingredient
is to determine where it will break (where is the apex) and aim the putt
straight toward that point.
The second tip for putting is to survey the entire green when determining
break. Almost all greens slope more in the back than in the front. Greens
are designed that way to accommodate rain run off. If you
look at the entire green, you can almost always see a pattern of slope
from back to front and from side to side.
To summarize, when you arrive at the green, get down behind the ball and
determine the break. Line the ball up straight toward the
apex of the break. Stand beside the ball and take a practice stroke to
get a feel for distance. Line the mark on your putter up with the arrow
on your golf ball and take the putter back and through the same distance.
More strokes are taken with the putter than with any other club in the
bag. You can practice putting anywhere. Spend some time on this part of
your game for lower scores.
Dale Crafton is the owner and instructor at Cozy Acres
Golf Complex, 4040 Old State Rd. 62, Madison, Ind. Call him at (812) 273-3137.