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# Short Putts Firm? - Page 3

Quote:
If you hit it firm, its hard to get the speed wrong and easier to get the line right.  It comes down to which factor's you'd prefer to eliminate.

Actually that is wrong on both accounts. If the ball goes in you read the putt correctly, and putted it on that line with the speed it was intended. So actually if you hit it soft and it goes in its because it was putted right, if you hit it firm and it goes in, its because you putted it right (though there are times were you pull a putt and it goes in, thats just luck and a misread). Getting the right speed is depending on the line you take. If you hit a less curve putt and you hit it soft you will miss it just if you take more break and hit it softer. But i can kinda get what your saying, if the putt is very straight lets say moves less than half the radius in the hole one way or the other. You hit it firm, more or less you created a straight putt. So if you hit it 6" past or 24" past, the ball will go straight. But that only accounts for near straight putts, anything with any significant break you are taking to much risk hitting it firm.

Think of it this way,

Lets say you have a 3' putt. Lets say your going to hit it firm, like two feet past the hole, thats pretty firm. If you do that, to make that putt you have to hit a putt with a range of error in club face orientation at +/- 1.51 degrees. Lets say you take Erik's adive, learn to hit putts 6" past the hole. If you hit that same putt, you got a range of error of +/- 3.01 degrees. Meaning you got a FULL 3 degrees of error differenct between hitting it firm and hitting it softer. (Firm = 3.02 Degrees, Soft = 6.02 degrees)

My Odyssey club face is about 4" in length from toe to heel. If you hit it firm, the club face has to be from perfectly square to 0.05" open/closed (arc length from square to the toe or heel)

If i was to hit it softer, that would be 0.10" open/closed.

Basically you can be 200% less accurate with your putting stroke and still make the putt.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25

Lets say you have a 3' putt. Lets say your going to hit it firm, like two feet past the hole, thats pretty firm. If you do that, to make that putt you have to hit a putt with a range of error in club face orientation at +/- 1.51 degrees. Lets say you take Erik's adive, learn to hit putts 6" past the hole. If you hit that same putt, you got a range of error of +/- 3.01 degrees. Meaning you got a FULL 3 degrees of error differenct between hitting it firm and hitting it softer. (Firm = 3.02 Degrees, Soft = 6.02 degrees)

You only have 3 degrees of error to play with if you hit it to a speed that stops 6 inches past the hole.  You're completely eliminating half of the equation by simplifying it to direction only.

Player A hits it firm, aims for the center but hits it 1.5* off line (higher than intended), and a little harder than he intended.  The ball falls in.  Player B aims 2 inches high and 6 inches past, misses 1.4* high, AND hits it a bit harder than intended.  The effective size of the hold shrinks because you hit it faster, and the ball breaks less (or later).  The putt misses.

I'm not saying firm is the "correct" way, I'm just making the point that what you and erik are saying is only one of the factors to consider.  Maybe to you, speed is easy and line is hard, so you prefer to maximize the width of a hole.  Maybe someone else tends to miss short putts because he leaves them short or blows through the break, and that person is better off going firm.

Well your adding in unwanted variables. I am assuming the player hits it the speed he wants, and i am assuming its the same putt. That is the only way to correctly analyze the two methods.

I wasn't simplifying it to direction only, the speed is taken into account with the shrinking of the hole size relative to were the ball ends up, the ball ends up is directly related to the speed of the ball.

But when you say firm, how firm, is it 12" firm, 24" firm, 36" firm, also how much more firm would player B putt be. Your taking my strick apples to apples comparison and throwing in hypotheticals. Of course there are senarios were if you hit a putt a bit firmer you might end up over reading it a bit and the putt goes past the high side. There are situations were you hit a putt to firm and it lips out from the highside. There are situations were the a firm putt is slightly pull and it burns the low edge. My senario takes all the human variables out and looks at it mathematically. If you had a STRAIGHT putt, no break, and you hit the ball so it ends up two feet past the hole if the hole was not there, you can pull or push the putt with a club face that is open or closed 1.02 degrees. If you hit a putt that ends up 6" past the hole, you can miss hit the putt up to open/closed 3.02 degrees off line and it will still go in.

Also,

Quote:
Player A hits it firm, aims for the center but hits it 1.5* off line (higher than intended), and a little harder than he intended.  The ball falls in

You said both player A & B hit it firmer than he intended, that means Player A's hole will diminish further, you can not say for certain the ball would fall in or not

Quote:
Originally Posted by dsc123

You only have 3 degrees of error to play with if you hit it to a speed that stops 6 inches past the hole.  You're completely eliminating half of the equation by simplifying it to direction only.

Player A hits it firm, aims for the center but hits it 1.5* off line (higher than intended), and a little harder than he intended.  The ball falls in.  Player B aims 2 inches high and 6 inches past, misses 1.4* high, AND hits it a bit harder than intended.  The effective size of the hold shrinks because you hit it faster, and the ball breaks less (or later).  The putt misses.

I'm not saying firm is the "correct" way, I'm just making the point that what you and erik are saying is only one of the factors to consider.  Maybe to you, speed is easy and line is hard, so you prefer to maximize the width of a hole.  Maybe someone else tends to miss short putts because he leaves them short or blows through the break, and that person is better off going firm.

If the line part of the putt is hard you definitely dont want to firm it in because you are making the line part of the equation harder than it needs to be. A 3 foot putt shouldn't be too hard to read and even if it is the steepest side hill slider thats not an easy put to shove in. Play the 4 inches of break or whatever and die it in.

Dying the putt in makes the alignment part easier as you have more room to miss. I think firming it in is just a bad idea. If you're having that much trouble putting you can try and firm it in but spending a little bit of time on speed can go along way, but you can firm it in if you'd like, Im going to keep trying to die it in the hole. It makes you feel more confident too when you can die a 15 footer into the hole. If I can even get a putt that far within 6 inches in the earlier part of the round I have the confidence in putting for the rest of the round.

Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25

Well your adding in unwanted variables. I am assuming the player hits it the speed he wants, and i am assuming its the same putt. That is the only way to correctly analyze the two methods.

Speed is an unwanted variable?  Please fill me in on how you've eliminated this variable, I'd love to hole putts without worrying about speed.

I don't know what exactly  you are analyzing?  The margin of directional error on a putt rolled the perfect speed?  I think Erik's post answered that conclusively and I don't think anybody is arguing against that.  Those of us who have not figured out how to putt without the unwanted variable of speed simply question whether other factors might be just as important.

Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25

I wasn't simplifying it to direction only, the speed is taken into account with the shrinking of the hole size relative to were the ball ends up, the ball ends up is directly related to the speed of the ball.

That's not taking speed into account, that's assuming the ball is struck with the perfect speed.   I'm talking about ability to hit the ball at the intended speed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25

You said both player A & B hit it firmer than he intended, that means Player A's hole will diminish further, you can not say for certain the ball would fall in or not

"I didn't have to. I proved that you're wrong, and if you're wrong I'm right."  -- Nick Naylor, Thank You for Smoking.  Joking aside, yeah, you're right.  I didn't quantify it.

Your argument is the equivalent of this:  "Hitting the ball firm is always the correct strategy because assuming that you start the ball on exactly the correct line, you have a larger margin for error in your speed than if you play break."  Then if you try to introduce aim as a something that we cannot assume to be perfect, I'll dismiss it as an "unwanted variable"

The truth is somewhere in between those extremes, and likely varies person to person.

And none of this takes into effect the confidence that hitting it firm appears to give some people.

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Originally Posted by Jimdangles

If the line part of the putt is hard you definitely dont want to firm it in because you are making the line part of the equation harder than it needs to be. A 3 foot putt shouldn't be too hard to read and even if it is the steepest side hill slider thats not an easy put to shove in. Play the 4 inches of break or whatever and die it in.

Dying the putt in makes the alignment part easier as you have more room to miss. I think firming it in is just a bad idea. If you're having that much trouble putting you can try and firm it in but spending a little bit of time on speed can go along way, but you can firm it in if you'd like, Im going to keep trying to die it in the hole. It makes you feel more confident too when you can die a 15 footer into the hole. If I can even get a putt that far within 6 inches in the earlier part of the round I have the confidence in putting for the rest of the round.

By playing it to die at the hole, 1" short in speed leaves you outside the hole.

And we're talking about 2-4 footers.  Or at least I am.  I dont think anyone is advocating jamming a 15 footer into the hole.

I guess it all depends on what you call "firm".  I play short putts firmer, but to a point.  In most cases I will be willing to be 3 feet passed the hole if it allows me to take some break out and hit the putt harder.  That's about as firm as I'll hit it though.. that's the way I look at it anyways. Of course there are some putts, especially downhill side breakers, that I will do the opposite and hit as softly as I can with the required break.

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Originally Posted by Hoganwoods

I guess it all depends on what you call "firm".  I play short putts firmer, but to a point.  In most cases I will be willing to be 3 feet passed the hole if it allows me to take some break out and hit the putt harder.  That's about as firm as I'll hit it though.. that's the way I look at it anyways. Of course there are some putts, especially downhill side breakers, that I will do the opposite and hit as softly as I can with the required break.

yeah, there are different ways to play different shots.  Like you, I wouldn't play a slippery downhiller firm.  But if i'm putting uphill, i'm hitting it firm.  particularly if i'm looking at a putt that I'm having trouble reading, or if its close to straight.

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Originally Posted by iacas

Nine to 12 inches past is all you need. Makes the hole bigger.

For me, this would be firm (and optimal). I tend to be a guy who dies it in the hole which is not the best way to make the average 3 footer. I constantly try to make sure to hit it firm enough to take out some break but soft enough to leave it within 12 inches. It's the ones that I miss that end up an inch or so on the low side let me know that I am not firm enough. Firm to me is a relative term.

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Originally Posted by dsc123

Speed is an unwanted variable?  Please fill me in on how you've eliminated this variable, I'd love to hole putts without worrying about speed.

You added in a variable because you had the "soft" putter missing his line AND his speed. If the firm putter misses the line and his speed he misses the putt too.

But let's put it this way.

If you aim for three feet past the cup (not uncommon), and given +/- 25% error on your speed, you have a LOT SMALLER RANGE in the direction than if you aim for 9 inches past and miss your speed by even 50% from these five feet and in putts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dsc123

By playing it to die at the hole, 1" short in speed leaves you outside the hole.

And we're talking about 2-4 footers.  Or at least I am.  I dont think anyone is advocating jamming a 15 footer into the hole.

How often do people leave 2-4 footers an inch short? Give me a break, cuz here's the thing: people lip them out by playing them with too much speed FAR MORE FREQUENTLY than they leave them short. "Dying at the hole" is six-twelve inches past the hole (I like to say nine just because it's about two cups and in the middle, and 9 is a good golf number.)

Quote:

Your argument is the equivalent of this:  "Hitting the ball firm is always the correct strategy because assuming that you start the ball on exactly the correct line, you have a larger margin for error in your speed than if you play break."  Then if you try to introduce aim as a something that we cannot assume to be perfect, I'll dismiss it as an "unwanted variable"

The truth is somewhere in between those extremes, and likely varies person to person.

And none of this takes into effect the confidence that hitting it firm appears to give some people.

My argument is that hitting the ball softer rather than firm (6" rather than 24" behind the hole) gives you a better chance to making putts because it doesn't decrease the size of the hole by physics as shown in "Capture Speed" thread on this forum.

What would be easier, throwing a baseball through a hole that 7" in diameter versus a hole that is 3.5" in diameter. That is the equivalent size if we were talking about throwing a 3" diameter baseball instead of putting a 1.68" golf ball. With a 24" putt you are only putting at a hole that is 0.22" wider than the golf ball, while putting for 6" behind the ball gives you 2.12" wider than a golf ball.

I don't know why you try to switch my opinion to the loosing argument there or did you just concede i was right.

Confidence is subjective, to say that hitting it softer or firmer gives one side more confidence or another is a falsality. I say that i am more confident when i know the ball will end up 6-12" behind the hole if the hole wasn't there. That just broke that argument. Hitting a ball firm and hitting it confidently is not the same. I can hit putts firm and soft with confidence.

Why do you keep saying i am taking speed out, speed is inherent in how much the ball moves past the hole. If you can read that much then you can't read what is important in this discussion. It is far better to give yourself the biggest target available to maximize the possibility of making a putt. No one is going to hit or read there line correctly 100% of the time, why not give yourself a better chance that it might catch the edge and fall in. That is maximized really if the ball just rotates into the cup, but we do want to make sure it gets there, so as Erik says, 9" is a good number. I throw 6" out there because the results are on the "Capture Speed" thread showing the relative size of the hole if a ball is to travel that far past.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas

How often do people leave 2-4 footers an inch short? Give me a break, cuz here's the thing: people lip them out by playing them with too much speed FAR MORE FREQUENTLY than they leave them short. "Dying at the hole" is six-twelve inches past the hole (I like to say nine just because it's about two cups and in the middle, and 9 is a good golf number.)

When he said die at the hole I understood it as not making it past the hole if it were off line (or maybe 1-2 inches past).  At 6-12, a putt that's one inch shorter than intended would still be 5-11 inches past and not short of the hole.  Don't you say 6-12 or 9 instead of 6 for this reason?

Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas

If you aim for three feet past the cup (not uncommon), and given +/- 25% error on your speed, you have a LOT SMALLER RANGE in the direction than if you aim for 9 inches past and miss your speed by even 50% from these five feet and in putts.

Do you know how fast you'd have to hit a straight putt for the ball to not go in?  I mean, assuming perfect line, that it would skip straight over the hole.  I don't have a clue.  Nor do I have a clue how far past a hole is "firm" because when I hit it firm I never miss.  ;)   If its something like four feet, anywhere from 0 to 48 inches ends up in the hole.  You could aim for 2 feet past (2-4 times what you advocate has to be considered firm, right?)  and have 100% margin of error on speed.  If I'm reading the numbers on your chart correctly, my target would be 2.8 inches wide, instead of 3.8.  So I'm shrinking my target by about 27%.   Or does it say 2.0?  In which case its about 47% or something?

If you're aiming 3 feet past the hole, then you're shrinking your target by 63%.  But you could hit it 3 feet shorter and a foot longer (?) and still make it.  You've got a 33% margin of error on the long side and 100% on the short side.  Does it make sense to average that (I don't know), that's gives 66%.

And this is all in percentages.  In absolute terms, by putting 2 feet past, you're giving yourself 2 feet to play with on either side (long/short) at the expense of half an each to each side in width.  Maybe my math is wonky, I don't know.  Its getting late.

Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25

Why do you keep saying i am taking speed out, speed is inherent in how much the ball moves past the hole.

What I meant is that you are assuming that the player is able to hit the ball at the intended speed, as if the only potential error the player makes when putting is direction.  I accept that soft maximizes width of the hole.  Do you accept that firm gives you more margin of error on the speed with which you strike the putt?  I.e., accidentally hitting it more or less than 6 inches past?

Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25

Confidence is subjective, to say that hitting it softer or firmer gives one side more confidence or another is a falsality. I say that i am more confident when i know the ball will end up 6-12" behind the hole if the hole wasn't there. That just broke that argument. Hitting a ball firm and hitting it confidently is not the same. I can hit putts firm and soft with confidence.

How can it be subjective and false?  Others on here have said they make more confident strokes when going firm.  I don't know why you would call that "false."  And I'm not telling you that you're wrong to putt the way you putt, or that you should do it differently.  I'm just saying I don't think you can sit here and say that firm is wrong.

No one is saying that "firm is wrong" per se...whats wrong is that hitting a putt firm somehow makes the putt easier.  Its just the opposite.... you have less room to miss.

Confidence is subjective because there is no one way that makes EVERY golfer feel confident.

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Yes, but to same firm is overall more confident than softer, is false. There is a misconception that a soft putt isn't a confident stroke. It is, its people don't know how to putt well enough to know this. They leave longer putts 3-4' short of the hole, or they blast it by 3', then they think, well at least i got it there. For me, i know my putts are going to be about 1' past the hole from upwards of 50' away. That is confidence, to know you are going to hit a putt the speed you want. Not because just because, well i hit it firm it has a chance. It has a chance, but the chance is a lot lower than if you hit a putt at a more precise speed. Also its this precision in speed that allows you to gain feel. If i practice hitting it 12" past the cup, then i know i am putting relatively close to the distance of the hole.

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What I meant is that you are assuming that the player is able to hit the ball at the intended speed, as if the only potential error the player makes when putting is direction.  I accept that soft maximizes width of the hole.  Do you accept that firm gives you more margin of error on the speed with which you strike the putt?  I.e., accidentally hitting it more or less than 6 inches past?

Yes i am assuming this, but its true that if you hit it 3' past, that you could hit it shorter or longer than 3'. But the problem with that is, if you under hit it lets say by a foot, 2.5'. Your hole size went from 1.4" to 1.75" in diameter.

If i am aiming for 1' past and hit a putt thats 6" past, the hole goes from 2.6 to 3.2" in diameter. To me you still have better odds in making putts if you hit them less firm. I am not talking about dying into the hole here. 6" past is just over one complete revolution of a golf ball. Thats a pretty significant difference.

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I'm just saying I don't think you can sit here and say that firm is wrong.

Sure i can when i see there is not benefit that is greater than hitting it 1' past the hole.

Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25

Yes, but to same firm is overall more confident than softer, is false. There is a misconception that a soft putt isn't a confident stroke. It is, its people don't know how to putt well enough to know this.

Agreed. If anything, hitting it hard is like saying, "I have no idea how much this is going to break, so I'm going to hit it really hard and make sure it doesn't break much at all."
I was trying to draw a diagram but I couldn't figure out how to do it.  For example, if you have a 3 foot putt that breaks such that a putt at 6 inches past the hole would need to start on a line one inch above the lip to hit center cup.

1. If you hit your line, how close to do you have to be to 6 inches to still make the putt?  Anybody know this?
2. If you miss your line with the correct speed, we know you have a target that's 3.8" wide.
3. From those two, can you draw a diagram showing the space where, absent a hole, the ball would stop, and with a hole the ball would fall in the cup?  I.e., the target area that would result in a made putt.

Then do the same thing for a firm putt, which would basically look like a long skinny cone extending from the hole.  I guess it would sort of slant a bit because of the break.

I imagine you'd have a long skinny cone, a shorter fatter cone.  One covers more area than the other.  Whichever that is, would be the strategy that maximizes your odds of hitting the putt, if you remove green reading, confidence, preference, etc from the equation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25

Yes i am assuming this, but its true that if you hit it 3' past, that you could hit it shorter or longer than 3'. But the problem with that is, if you under hit it lets say by a foot, 2.5'. Your hole size went from 1.4" to 1.75" in diameter.

Right, that's my point.  The margin of error is 2 dimensional.  I suggest that it might be reasonable to give up .17" in lateral margin of error, to gain 12.0" in depth margin of error. (I'm using your numbers, which I think are off and make my point look better)  I further suggest, that if a person tends to miss short putts because he gets the speed wrong more often than he misses his intended line (we're not talking mis-reads), that person is probably better off hitting it firm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25

Yes, but to same firm is overall more confident than softer, is false. There is a misconception that a soft putt isn't a confident stroke.

This is where we are.  We agree on facts, and reach different conclusions.  We agree that some feel more confident with a more firm stroke, some do not.  From that, I conclude that people may reasonably differ on their approach.  You come to the conclusion that everyone else is wrong.

And to me, this is sort of a side point.  I take issue with the idea that widening the hole is the only factor that should be considered in determining what speed maximizes the margin of error given the correct read.  I just mentioned this because its another benefit that people have mentioned of putting firm.  Another would be that you're removing the break.  If you're looking at a putt and you can't really tell if its left edge or 2 inches outside, you can hit it firm to an inch inside the left edge.  If you hit your intended line, the ball isn't going to miss left and if you miss low--a firm 3 foot put breaking 3+ inches--you've misread the break pretty badly and its likely that a soft putt 2 inches left would have missed low too.

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No one is saying that "firm is wrong" per se...whats wrong is that hitting a putt firm somehow makes the putt easier.  Its just the opposite.... you have less room to miss.

Only if you define "room to miss" as lateral margin of error.

And for what its worth, it may be that lateral error is more important for some reason, or that I am over estimating the margin or error on depth.  My point is that saying "soft is better because it makes the hole bigger" is good enough.  That's like saying its better to build a baseball team by spending all your money on batters because that will maximize the runs you score.  There's another dimension to the equation.  It may be that one is more important than the other, or larger or smaller than the other, but simply repeating "soft makes the hole bigger" over and over again doesn't get you to the conclusion that soft results in more holed putts.
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Originally Posted by jamo

Agreed. If anything, hitting it hard is like saying, "I have no idea how much this is going to break, so I'm going to hit it really hard and make sure it doesn't break much at all."

Is your point that if you have no idea how much it is going to break that you would gain confidence by hitting it softly and letting the mysterious break have more influence?

At least 3 others have said they make a more confident stroke. I imagine that they meant that they make a more solid and less timid strike of the ball because they're not trying to finesse it.  They're able to focus on line exclusively, without worrying about speed.  but that's just my interpretation.  You guys are free to tell them their confidence is wrong.

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