Play Ugly, Score Beautifully

Stop the bleeding and get back on track

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DOWNHILL PUTTS
Most people assume direction is most important when it comes to putting. The reality is, the speed of your putt is more important. On putts that curve, there are many different lines you can choose to roll the ball, as long as you have the correct speed for that putting line.

Where I see mistakes often made is on downhill putts. They're usually the toughest to gauge in terms of break and speed. Usually, my students hit downhill putts too hard and don't play for enough break. When that happens, their putts roll past the hole a long way and they're left with a lengthy comebacker. No fun!

The quick, ugly solution to help prevent hitting downhill putts too far is to consider playing downhill putts off the toe of the putterface. This immediately deadens the putt and puts a much slower roll on the ball. When you do this, play for some extra break; the ball will be rolling slower and definitely will break more. Give it a try, and watch downhill putts roll a lot slower toward the hole.

BACK TO NORMAL
Remember, hitting you putts off the toe side of the putter is only recommended for touchy, downhill putts. If you're struggling with your speed and distance control for all your putts, hone in on the sweet spot of your putter and try to hit your putts as solidly as you can. Usually, bad distance control means you're ignoring the center of the putterface and hitting putts away from the putter's center of percussion. Make it a priority to hit your putts in the center of the face first, then work on getting your line and speed down.

Randy Chang, PGA, is the Director of Instruction at Journey Golf Club at Pechanga in Temecula, Calif., and has golf schools at Talega Golf Club in San Clemente, Calif., and Back Bay GC in Newport Beach, Calif. For information, visit randychangpga.com.


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