isaacbm, on 20 September 2018 - 11:00 AM, said:
So let’s say You pace off 10 steps.
Is it up hill , downhill, sidehill?
Is it into the grain? Down grain?
Is the green wet? Dry?
Are the greens running eight? 10? 12?
How on earth can you know how hard to hit it just based on “30 feet”?
An uphill put into the grain might be running five and a downhill putt down grain might be running 18!
If you exert the same amount of force to each condition, two balls are literally going to end up 20 feet apart!
And as far as the idea of not stepping on somebody’s line goes, you don’t know where their line is going to be
because they haven’t putted yet. Their 30 footer might be pulled or hit too hard and they end up right where you walked.
That’s why it’s important to always be aware of “Thru-lines”.
A good rule when reading putts on longer putts is generally stay out of a 10 foot Circle from the hole as much as possible .
Sorry I'm a little late to this party...
isaacbm, I'm not sure I understand why this bothers you so much. I fully agree with the others' comments that gathering data about the length of a putt is like using a range finder, GPS device or even the yardage markers in the fairway to determine yardage to the green/pin. Few golfers these days eyeball the yardage for the entire round - they'll at least refer to yardage stakes/discs or sprinkler heads, so why is it bad to know the distance of a putt, too?
Personally, I preface every round with a series of reference putts from a set of backswing lengths on the flattest area of the practice green. That gives me several sets of distances that I know I can consistently hit *flat* putts on those greens. I then assess what percentage to add or subtract for uphill and downhill putts on 1- and 2-degree sloping greens. I putt mostly on bent or poa annua greens, but if I travel to a course with bermuda greens, I'll also determine the effect of grain (with vs. into) on putt speed/length. This is about 75% of my pre-round putting warmup, and it takes about 10-15 minutes. Armed with this information, I can calculate how much to increase or decrease the length of one of my "stock" backswings to accommodate the distance and pace of most putts inside 50-60 feet, assuming the actual greens are similar to the practice green.
On the course, I try to be first to the green so I can walk off my putt distances while others are either chipping or lining up putts, but if this would cause me to walk in another player's line (not a *possible* future line for a ball that hasn't been hit yet), I'll walk off the putt on a parallel path that is the same distance. All of this adds maybe 5-10 seconds to my putting routine, but I'm mindful of pace of play and make sure to do it quickly while waiting for others to play. I generally don't walk off any putt that I gauge to be under 3 paces long.
Ultimately, using this method means I'm rarely grinding over length of putts. I can focus on the line because I have the distance pegged. I almost never leave putts more than a few feet long or short, and even those are mostly on super long lag putts that fall way outside my reference backswings. With this, I've virtually eliminated 3-putts and almost always leave my second putts within 2-4 feet.
If you happen to play entirely by feel, with no inputs to give you distances for shots, that's awesome for you and your style of play. But, as long as players aren't killing pace of play or impeding other golfers' games, why is it important to anyone else *how* they play their game? If they can reduce their number of putts from something like 37-38 to around 31-33 because they're not leaving putts 10 feet long or short and reducing 3-putts, that's good for their game, as well as for the pace of play, which is good for all of us. Playing by feel vs. being more analytical isn't a badge of honor...to each their own.