Atlantic Golf & Lifestyle magazine issue1 - July / August 2017

Page 22


000 - AG&L - FRONT NINE_AG&L-2017 16/06/2017 12:27 Page 22



2-MINUTE LESSON Putting is about the relationship between line and pace – but what is the optimum speed at which you should roll the ball to increase your chances of success? The answer may surprise you, says putting guru Dr Paul Hurrion


ENTERING THE DROPZONE We hear it all the time, don’t we; as a player prepares to roll a birdie putt from mid- to long range (10 feet and out), the commentator reminds all of us at home that in order to have the best chance of making the putt it has to be rolling at a speed that would see the ball finish 18 inches beyond the hole should it miss. Well, hold on just a moment. According to the latest research – and I’ve been involved in much of it of late – the optimum speed of a putt is significantly slower than we are all led to believe. And the reasoning is simple: the faster a ball is travelling, the smaller the effective size of the hole becomes and so the more accurate you need to be to set the ball on the perfect line. Given that it is so much easier to control the speed of roll than it is the precise angle of the putter-face at impact, the new thinking out on Tour is that ‘dying’ the ball into the hole and reading


maximum break at that drop-in speed is by far the more effective method. One of my long-time students, Padraig Harrington, is red hot on this at the moment. He has always been one to ‘die’ it into the cup and much of the time we spend on the green revolves around adjusting our ‘reading’ of the putt to maximise the size of the hole as the ball approaches – the key here being that the effective centre of the hole moves around the clockface according to the severity of the slope. At drop-in speed the ball is obviously going to take the maximum borrow, and so you have to visualise the ball entering the hole from the pro or higher side. On a 15-foot putt, deviation of less than half a degree in the angle of the putter-face is all that’s required for you to miss the your line and the hole – you’d have to be a robot to believe you could consistently keep the face dead-

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