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Form 12
ESTIMATING THE BREAK AND STROKING THE PUTT ON LINE


 

 

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ESTIMATING THE AMOUNT OF BREAK ON YOUR PUTTS

The use of this form improves your accuracy in selecting the amount of break on your putts and will result in a higher percentage of putts sunk from a given distance.

Players of all experience levels, including the top stars, tend to hit most of their missed putts below the curve to the cup. Once it is rolling below the curve to the cup, gravity causes the ball to roll still further away from the cup. Thus, that putt cannot roll in the cup.

Since they see every putt, why do golfers not correct this problem? The cause is due to a feedback problem. Golfers do not, or cannot, store data in their mind on a cumulative basis over many similar putts. Results occur in a jumbled order. One putt goes in the cup, the next misses on the low side, and the next misses on the high side. Then there are all the other shots to hit during a round. In addition, golfers do not record, accumulate and summarize data on paper as to whether they miss on the high side or the low side of each putt.

Thus, they are unaware of their error patterns, though many of have heard that other golfers suffer from this tendency of having a high percentage of putts miss on the low side of the curve to the cup. They overestimate their performance, sometimes wildly, and are stunned when you present accurate data on the percentage of their putts that miss on the low side of the cup.

They putt on the low side because they do not estimate enough break. It also occurs because even if they see the correct amount of break, they tend to stroke more toward the cup than to a spot offering enough room to break. Thus, they need feedback on these two performances and get it in this experiment.

This feedback form presented here causes them to collect data on two key characteristics of putting performance. One, was their estimate of the direction and amount of curve in the putt accurate? Two, did they stroke the ball on the correct path they predicted?

Golfers who use this soon begin to estimate the break more accurately. When they do this, the percentage of putts they sink by distance tends to increase and it continues at higher levels long term, though they will vary from day to day, but less so. The golfer should use these procedures forever as part of each practice putting session.

In this drill, the golfer imagines a straight line the ball is to start on and continues it to a point 17 inches past the cup. To mark this aiming line, the golfer places a repair tool into the green. If the golfer chooses correctly the line and speed of the putt and then putts directly on it, gravity will cause the ball to roll into the cup, or close to it. To start the putts from the same location, the golfer places a coin four inches from the ball at right angles to the starting point.

Does the golfer start the putt on the desired line? To find out, the golfer places two tees one foot from the ball and four inches apart in the green to act as gates. If the ball hits one of these tees or rolls on the outside edge of one of them, the golfer discards that putt from the study of the amount of break. In addition, the golfer discards any putt stopping short of the cup or more than three feet past the cup.

If the qualifying putts consistently roll either above or below the curve to the cup, the golfer readjusts the estimate of break and moves that marker. The golfer measures the distance and direction of the change and calculates the change in terms of percentages (e.g. 125% more break needed). When faced with estimating the amount of break on a similar putt in the future on the course, the golfer recalls the percentage adjustment and changes the amount of estimated break. This results in a higher percentage of putts sunk from that distance.

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