Putting: Downhill Putts

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PUTTING 

Enter the dead zone

Learn the easy way to deal with slick downhill putts 

Fault: Running fast putts past
Fix: Use toe contact to kill the strike

We coaches are usually big on helping you find the sweetspot of your putter. A centred strike stops the face twisting at impact and helps you deliver consistent distance control. But there’s one occasion a strike off the toe becomes more desirable, and it’s when you’re facing a very quick downhill putt – something you can expect to face more often as summer approaches. Here’s why it works, and some simple guidelines on how to achieve it. 

Slower strike

Modern putters are weighted to produce their sweetest strike – and consistent ball speeds – from the centre of the face. As we know through past mis-strikes, when you make contact from the toe or heel, the strike is deadened and the ball comes off more slowly. We can use that to our advantage on fast downhillers. 

Normal rhythm

Don’t fall into the trap of making a weak, dribbling stroke. Even on fast putts, your stroke needs rhythm and purpose to send the ball out on line, and that’s what this deadened toe strike allows. 

Sharper attention

Place your attention on the mid-point between the putter’s centre and toe, and address the ball opposite this point. Focus purely on making contact with this part of the face. 

Short stroke

If applied with power, the toe strike will twist the face open. So only use the toe strike when you only need a short, controlled stroke, which should be the case anyway for fast, downhill putts. 

TG TOP 50 

GARY NICOL 

ARCHERFIELD LINKS 

Tour coach and co-founder of the Tour Pro Experience Golf Schools (tpegs.com) 

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