Let "Perception" Change Your Speed – Putting

When I teach my students about Putting, I tell them to ask themselves this question before each putt, … “Is the putt Uphill, Downhill or Level.” Then once they have that answer, follow these adjustments and use their “Perception” to change the speed of the putt. In other words, Where you look sends a signal to your brain and gives you the correct “Feel” for distance without changing your “Stroke”. So instead of thinking “I need to hit this hard, or easy (which changes your stroke by adding the hands to help or quitting on the putt to not hit it too hard), you can just change where you “Look” and it will automatically change your “Speed” without altering your stroke.

Uphill Putt *:
1. Look Past the Hole the amount needed to offset the incline or slope. Slightly uphill look maybe 2′ past, but if severe uphill, as much as 6′ or more.

Downhill Putt *:
1. Look Short of the Hole the amount needed to offset the slope. Slightly downhill, look at a spot 2/3 of the way to the hole on your line. But if severe downhill, you might putt to a spot, on your line, only 1/4 of the way to the hole. This lets you hit an aggressive, complete, putt to an interim target, so the putt starts on line and holds the line until gravity takes over and it trickles along the break and into the hole.

Level Putt:
1. Look Past the Hole about 15″. You want to putt through the hole, on your target line, to the spot you are looking at, not at the hole.

So, the first thing you want to think about when looking at a putt, is it uphill, downhill or level … then imagine the ball rolling (like a rehearsal). This will help you pick the spot you want to look at to allow your perception to choose the right speed. Once you have your speed, then pick the line needed based on the speed you picked.

* Uphill Putt: also allow less break because gravity does not affect an uphill putt very much. This happens because, the extra speed needed to carry it up the hill overrides much of the pull of gravity.

* Downhill Putt: Allow more break because the lesser amount of speed (as to not go too far) allows the putt to be a the mercy of gravity and gravity will win… especially as it is trying to slow and stop it really moves a lot.