I love the old adage that a two inch putt is worth the same number of strokes a 275 yard drive. Lately, I have decided to focus on the number of putts per round to help lower my scores and inflate my ego when I avoid 3 putts for an entire round. To lower number of putts per round, I focus more on my putting aim and the end result of the putt.
Off is Better than On Sometimes
A green can be an opposing vast waste land when there is twenty or thirty yards (not feet) between the ball and the cup. I don’t mind being off the green if that affords me the opportunity to chip with in a five foot radius of the hole. I was playing Scotland Run last summer (which has some dastardly greens) and I hit a great approach shot that stuck on the green for a birdie chance. Once I got to the green, I saw the birdie chance did not have a chance in hell. I would prefer to be short of that green to chip at the whole for a better par chance instead of a guaranteed 3 putt.
The Putting Line is Never Straight
I like to draw the ball’s roll path in my mind and find points the ball must travel as check points. My putting stroke should send the ball over the first check point. if my stroke power is right, the ball will roll over the second checkpoint and then the third and fourth.
What Time will the Ball Drop in the Hole
When I look at the hole itself, I pick a point around the cup I expect the ball to fall in. If I imagine the hole is a clock with 6 o’clock being the point closest to the ball, I pick a point on the clock where the ball will cross. I will say to myself, “the ball should fall in at 7 o’clock.” This points to a fairly light break from the left side. This completes the ball’s journey in my mind’s eye.
If I have to choose to miss a putt due to misread or missing short, my ego will be less bruised by not seeing a gradient. I want me putts to stop within six inches of the hole and preferably just beyond. It may take me two or three holes to learn the power for a course’s green but once I got the power, the breaks will reveal themselves.