How to begin

How to begin

Joined: September 3rd, 2015, 6:29 pm

September 3rd, 2015, 7:28 pm #1

Hi Geoff-- I'm JP and I'm a poor putter! I strike the ball well enough to be a low handicap golfer (my index is 6.7), but my putting is much worse than the rest of my game. I recently shot 78 on my home course - a moderately difficult course slope 134) - with three three putts. I hit 10 greens and had one chip in to save a par. If I am off my game striking the ball, I might shoot 90 with the 15 handicappers....if I'm really on and striping it, I might be hitting more greens than a 3 hcp guy, but will still shoot 77-81 because I putt so poorly.

My distance control is worse than my green reading. I keep changing strokes, stances, etc., looking for success. I miss a lot of 3 footers. I also miss my share of 2 footers.

How do I improve...specifically do you have a "recipe" or program for how to start? What do I work on first, and how? How much time, how often, etc. I love your site and I read your articles and watch videos. But there seems to be so many things to do, so much to try, it seems overwhelming and I'm not sure where to start.

If this ground has been covered in another thread or in an article somewhere, please let me know and direct me there. Thank you!! JP

Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

November 10th, 2015, 12:27 pm #2

Dear JP,

Get a straight stroke by putting along the base of a wall stroking the thru-stroke straight and square down and slightly up the wall.

Get distance control by intentionality to STOP the ball just 2-3 rolls past the hole and never more, then use a stable tempo and even back-thru rhythm to get distance control on long putts and read my stuff about lag putting. Send me email and I'll mail you the texts.

Then worry about reading only the "low-hanging fruit" of putts inside ten feet. For those, when the slope is the same flatness from ball to hole and the green speed is normal, play 1/2" of break for each percent of slope grade and for each foot of distance, using the formula (Slope%/2) x Distance (feet) = Inches of break for target up the fall line measured from the center of the cup (flagstick hole).

For example, a 4-footer on 1% slope plays 1%/2 ("/ft) x 4 (ft) = 2". That is inside the cup near the highest edge. Aim straight, putt straight at the target, using even rhythm and normal tempo.

To read these putts with this sort of math, you need the skill to see three aspects of the surface near the hole:

1. Fall line or straight uphill putt thru the cup;
2. Slope grade or percent (how many inches of elevation drop occurs when moving straight down the fall line 100 inches); and
3. Flatness or lack of flatness from hole out to ball.

Send me email and I'll forward the texts explaining those skills.

Then lag the long ones slow and high to the hole and sink the short ones.


Geoff Mangum
Putting Coach and Theorist -- over 200 Certified PuttingZone Coaches teaching in 21 Countries Worldwide and growing strong!
The best putting instruction in the history of the game -- integrating the Four Skills of putting (reading, aiming, stroking for line, and stroking for delivery pace) by combining all putting lore in history with modern science for physics, anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, motor sports teaching and learning and performance, and especially the NEW brain science of the non-conscious processes of perception and movement action in putting skill.