This putting guide will mostly be dealing with the more intangible aspects
of putting that no one wants to talk about and as such will be more helpful to intermediate-advanced players. I completely endorse and recommend
you read Nivlac’s putting guide before reading this (especially the newer
members). Certain facets of putting are near impossible
to teach or put in words since it is a mixture of art and science (didn’t stop
me from trying). Even though I have tried my best to make this as simple as
possible, I ask you to please appreciate the complexity of putting. Too often
players look for a simple mathematical formula which will make all putts for
them, this will never happen; Practice is irreplaceable.
First I'll talk about how I 'look' at a putt. There is no wrong or right way
to do this or in whatever sequence; it's what makes sense to you and what works
for you, so don't take this section as a universal truth.
My first instinct is to figure out how much speed i'm going to give the putt
(Refer 1.). Since lots of good advice and charts have been provided by other
members for this purpose, I will not get into details of how to figure out how
much you need to hit. The speed gives me an idea of how fast to imagine the
ball moving over the given grid and how much the moving dots on the grid will
tend to move the ball.
Then i take the aimer to my first instinct/guess, and imagine hitting the
putt at the speed i've decided to hit the putt at and how that putt line is going
to react to the grids. If I think I’m not aiming enough, I'll move it further
out and do the same; repeat till a line feels like it’s good. I'm sure you get
the basic idea :)
Getting ready to execute
In the end i try to imagine the grids moving the ball more than i think, and
then less than i think. If it seems more likely that my miss is going to
be on the low side, I'll just miss the ding by 1-2 pixels on the high side. I
give credit to BolloxinBruges who explained this last concept to me in my
newbie days as 'playing the percentages'.
How? If I've aimed enough and I miss the ding on the high side by 1-2 pixel,
the slight loss in speed (due to missing the ding) combined with the more break
i've played (due to missing the ding) will highly likely even out. If I
haven't aimed quite enough then missing the ding on high side will take care of
it with only a slight loss in speed (Remember, the hole is 4.25 inches wide,
especially when you play putts at dead speed like I usually do).
1.Every line has a speed: Be
consistent with how hard you hit your putts; Be it the suncity28 way who
likes to ram 'em in or the bollox way; finesse last roll plop (General
tendency, not ALWAYS; every putt and situation is different). This is the only
way you'll be able to get a 'feel' for how much a given grid will break the
ball with consistent results. Whether you line it up and ding, only miss the
meter, or both (my usual preferred choice). Hitting it at different speeds each
time will make it harder to eye/read breaks.
2. Different green speeds: I hear a lot of people saying they have
trouble adjusting to different green speeds. It can be off-putting, but tying
it in with everything I’ve said above, look at it this way: adjust your imagination of the interaction
between the speed you’re considering to hit and the line you’re considering to
take with that of the moving dots on the grid. That’s all a different green
speed does; force you to hit harder/softer. Naturally, hitting a shot with less
speed will give the slope of the green more time to move the ball in addition
to a relatively greater retarding force acting on the ball, vice versa.
3. Pick your spots: If you choose to hit putts at dead speed (ball
drops in the hole on last couple rolls) like I used to do all the time,
beware, you're actually lowering your chances of making some putts because
you're having to aim more; hence more chance for error. Good decision making is
Some putts you HAVE to hit at dead-speed because missing might mean a possible
3 putt (severe downhill). This is usually the worst time to try to power it in
and take most of the break out of the equation, although if it's only a little
downhill, you can choose to do this; pick your spots.
The ideal scenario to power a putt is on uphill putts. I used to make twice the
downhill benders I did uphill benders and it drove me nuts. On uphill
putts you can be much more aggressive, and take more of the break out of the
equation, to an appropriate extent of course. Credit to suncity28 who in my
putter-slump days gave me this piece of advice for uphill benders; it instantly
improved my %age of makes on uphill benders.
4. The Chipping Grid: The most misunderstood tool: The chipping grid
is now widely known as the tiebreaker in reading a putt that shows opposing
breaks from both angles. This is true, but most people have absolutely no clue
how to use this tool to its potential (and for that reason i just spent a lot
of time making the following). Also, it is not just to determine which read is
correct, but can tell one much more about the putt if used correctly as
Kia #3 left of pin 7 feet, yes the big breaker l-r. JUST long off the pin
though (left of the pin)
Click here for a larger view (click image to
magnify). Please read every note for the
respective picture and ‘see’ what I mean on the magnified image.
#1 - #2 The problem: The default grid shows the putt will go through 2
columns (center of neither) of the grid.
The dots on the grid are most accurately depicting the slope of the green where
the center of the column is (or underneath the center of the column). Hence
when the putting line is going through 2 columns, even the corner of the
respective column will tend to show the break which is actually in the center
of the column.
#3 The incorrect way of using the chipping grid: The point of using
the chipping grid is that you can move it around and center the area the putt
will go thru in the center of 1 column. In cases with a camera angle squarely
behind the ball and the hole, only centering the putting line on one column
once will work, but in most of those cases, the default grid will majority of
the times be placed in a way that the putting line will go through only 1
column. This is also the reason many players tend to rely heavily on the
reverse camera, although they don’t
realize ‘why’ they do it; it’s usually directly behind the hole pointing
towards the ball.
So just taking out the chipper like in this snapshot will not help at
#4-#5 Make the putting line the center of your grid-column using the
straighter cam angle: The reverse cam angle is slightly more in line
with the ball, hence easier to take an accurate reading from. In #4, Only look
at the first 2-3 feet of the putt since it is the area centered on the column.
In #5 only look at the last 3-4 feet of the putt since this is the area
centered on the column.
#6-#7 Check the other camera angle: In #6, only look at the first 1-2
feet of the putt since this is the area centered on a column. In #7, only look
at the last 5-6 feet of the putt since this is the area centered on a column.
Note: #6-#7 also drives the point home that it doesn't matter which
column you use, as long as you center it on the general putting line. If an
attempt to use the chipping grid keeping the avatar pointed towards the hole
was made, the avatar itself and the chipping arc would be in the way; do not be
afraid to use any column, it's all about getting a clear look :)
You can also use this tool on only a portion of any long breaking putt that
you have doubts about. Also helps to clearly identify transitions in
5a. Why mathematical formulae are
only a guideline:
#10 left and long 11 feet.
Click here for a larger view (click image to magnify)
#1-#2 Seemingly innocent putt, it actually is not. This putt shows 11 feet 1
inch uphill. There are many times when I hear people complain about putts coming
up 0.2 -0.6 short for no apparent reason when they ‘hit it for perfect
distance’. Such putts are usually attributed to ‘WGT’ or ‘deviation’ or ‘VEM’
and cause frustration.
#3 This picture explains why the above happens. A lot of virtual golfers
will look at this putt and use the following thought process: ‘11 feet 1 inch
up, that’s 12 feet … 12 feet X 1.3 OR 70% OR 75% = 9.2 feet OR 8.4 feet OR 9 feet’
(whichever mathematical equation you use to gauge distance on your putts). All the above will come up short.
Why? Taking the aimer hardly past
the hole we see that it now says 11 feet 2 inches up as opposed to 1 inch up at
the hole. Since WGT only shows full inch changes in elevation, a fraction of an
inch will not be indicated. Also the wind is straight into your putt; yes, the
wind does affect putts, even if fractionally so in this case (short putt, not a
very strong wind). Every time you leave a putt begging short, look up at the wind,
you’ll ‘facepalm’ quite a few times.
Going deeper into the rabbit hole, this putt is flat the first 7.7 feet, 1
inch up at 7.8 feet, 2 inches up at just past the hole, 3 inches up at 13.8
feet, 4 inches up at 16 feet, 5 inches up at 18feet. This clearly indicates
that there is a steep change in elevation at the end of this putt hence also
creating the visual effect ‘the ball pulled the brakes when it saw the hole’.
explains this eloquently in his putting guide through the colors of the grid.
Notice how the putting grid is turning from red (behind the ball) to black and
then blue – bright blue, indicating a steeper change in elevation than a ‘1
inch uphill’ putt would usually show.
#4 To make my point, I hit this putt for a little more than 9 feet, even
with a better aim, it would be 0.2-0.6 feet short. This putt needed to be hit
at least 10 feet for it to barely get there. This is another reason I recommend
point 3. Para 3. The same concept will be magnified with longer putts and/or
Hope this helps.
Any questions are welcome. More to come soon.