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Putting, instincts, plans


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#1 Petunia Sprinkle

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 09:04 AM

I’m watching the SA Open and they were just discussing Goosen’s putting. They were saying how great he has always been with the speed of his putts. (Goosen’s one of my favorites, so I just mindlessly agree with anything nice someone says about him.) Then, one of ‘them’ says something like “you decide on what speed you’re going to putt, then, you pick the line.” I don’t know which one of ‘them’ said it, so I don’t know if it were an actual golf person saying something he believes, or it were just some idiot filling the air with crap, but it got me thinking about it.

I usually see a bunch of lines that, more or less, do the same thing. Once I pick a line, the speed for getting the ball to follow that line is all instinct. I’ve never practiced putting speed. It’s always seemed obvious to me, in a “the hole’s right there” kind of way. Putting speed is the most consistently good part of my game. If it weren’t, I’d be screwed because I can’t imagine ever successfully forcing myself to practice it.

Is it generally the same with you all, or different?


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#2 Ferguson

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 09:41 AM

I love to putt - best part of my game.

What I have learned over the years:

Putts can't maintain a given line or path without the correct speed.  This is especially true on breaking putts.  Speed to the apex of a breaking putt is vital to how the putt rolls out after reaching the apex and starts to decelerate.  

With me it's always been speed first, then line.

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#3 fillwelix

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 09:56 AM

I go by "how far do I want the ball past the hole if I miss?"

If it's a severe downhill putt, I'll think "just tap it" and try and see what line that speed will take to get to the hole.

If it's uphill or side hill, same thing. Pick a speed that feels right, and then look at those "possible" lines like you said and pick the one that matches the speed I want

none of that made any sense probably
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#4 Chadwickog

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 09:58 AM

When I'm making a practice stroke with my putter I'm practicing for the speed.  That said, I see the line first and then match my speed to the line.

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#5 davep043

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 10:17 AM

 Petunia Sprinkle, on 12 January 2018 - 09:04 AM, said:

I usually see a bunch of lines that, more or less, do the same thing. Once I pick a line, the speed for getting the ball to follow that line is all instinct. I've never practiced putting speed. It's always seemed obvious to me, in a "the hole's right there" kind of way. Putting speed is the most consistently good part of my game. If it weren't, I'd be screwed because I can't imagine ever successfully forcing myself to practice it.

Is it generally the same with you all, or different?
The correct line and correct speed are directly related, there are literally an infinite number of combinations that can get the ball in the hole.  I think a player could start with either line or speed, and intuitively decide on the other, and I think the choice of which comes first will vary from player to player.  I use Aimpoint Express to help me read greens, and that assumes that you'll use a speed that gets the ball something like 18 inches past the hole.  However, the read gets "adjusted" for green speed, and uphill or downhill slopes will influence the apparent speed of the putt.  So I can start with up or downhill, get my "standard read" for sideslope, and adjust in or out based on apparent speed.  So in my method, I'm using speed first, particularly the variation from standard speed on a level putt, and adjusting my aim.  And all this happens quickly and interactively.
Really, you're starting with your knowledge of speed in determining your read too.  You just have an "instinct" that has developed from your experience.  You certainly don't select an excessively direct line that would require you to hit the first putt 10 feet past. or an extremely wide line that might not get a make-able putt to the front of the hole, you start with an image of stopping the ball some distance past the hole, so you start with speed.


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#6 Petunia Sprinkle

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 10:36 AM

“The correct line and correct speed are directly related, there are literally an infinite number of combinations that can get the ball in the hole.”

Mrs. Sprinkle never quite grasped that (she’s played maybe twenty rounds in the 27yrs. we’ve been married). Her ball would frequently hit the hole like a bootlegger hitting a pothole as it went rolling twice as far as the original putt.

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#7 MrJones

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 02:30 PM

 Ferguson, on 12 January 2018 - 09:41 AM, said:

Putts can't maintain a given line or path without the correct speed.  This is especially true on breaking putts.  Speed to the apex of a breaking putt is vital to how the putt rolls out after reaching the apex and starts to decelerate.  

With me it's always been speed first, then line.

I'm very much like this. I putt to a point at which I think the ball will begin to slow and take the break to the hole. The only time I differ from this is on short putts where I won't be severely penalized for putting with speed if I happen to miss. I like to just knock those on in.
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#8 Barfolomew

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 02:51 PM

I like to practice both....pick a line knowing that if I get the speed right it will go and the reverse feel the speed first and then search for the right line to fit that speed.

On course....I guess I combine them cause I'm a total feel player and don't bother reading much until over ball.... feel speed first to help pick line but once lined determined then switch to find proper speed with that line but I don't get to hung up on it cause more then 1 line will go so just accept the line you picked and match the proper speed with the situation...its one of the reasons I don't like using a line on the ball cause I change lines while over the ball

Edited by Barfolomew, 12 January 2018 - 03:03 PM.

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#9 Tyler1putt

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 02:57 PM

Im a feel guy.  My practice strokes are made looking at the hole and when I feel I have the speed I then pick a start point that is my target and hopefully the apex of the putt

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#10 thesaxemachine

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 05:21 PM

My worst putts are the ones that I think too much on. I just want to get confident with the line and then pick a speed. Anything else and I’ll do my head in.

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#11 Scottie68

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 09:18 PM

In thinking about this, I agree with the one of "them", especially on long putts... seems speed should come first, then the appropriate line for that speed. A miss should produce a shorter next putt in most cases.

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#12 Santiago Golf

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 09:42 PM

I honestly couldn't tell you what I do. But generally I am controlling the speed by the length of my back stroke.
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#13 Petunia Sprinkle

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 09:45 PM

View PostScottie68, on 12 January 2018 - 09:18 PM, said:

In thinking about this, I agree with the one of "them", especially on long putts... seems speed should come first, then the appropriate line for that speed. A miss should produce a shorter next putt in most cases.

What if the speed you decide has no corresponding line to the hole?

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#14 Scottie68

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 05:06 PM

Intersesting question... if you're referring to a large breaker, which I think would be the case where this can happen, guess I'm subconsciously building in the extra distance (or coming up short!).

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#15 Man_O_War

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Posted 15 January 2018 - 11:14 AM

seems like there is no alternative....line, speed...surely

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