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You Should Watch Your Partner's Putts Roll to a Stop

post #1 of 64
Thread Starter 

I had 5 holes today where watching other people's putts helped me hole my own putt....

 

While the majority of someone else's putt will give you a general idea of the slope of the green, the last few inches of their putt will tell you exactly how the green slopes.  Therefore, if their putt ends up very near the hole, the last inch of their ball's roll will tell you where the fall line is.

 

I see many folks ignoring the roll of their playing partners putts and just study the line they have.  I think this is a huge mistake.  If I still have a putt left, I watch everyone's putts closely.  If it stops near the hole, I watch the last inch of the roll specifically.  I haven't taken Aimpoint yet (I hope to at some point), but think watching other people putt can give you the fall line many times.

post #2 of 64
Yea if your PP are good putters. I played with others whose putt are so badly off line with terrible pace that if gives me bad vibes watching their putts
post #3 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dchoye View Post

Yea if your PP are good putters. I played with others whose putt are so badly off line with terrible pace that if gives me bad vibes watching their putts

I agree.  If the putt is grossly offline with terrible pace, it doesn't tell you much.  I anyone, though, can get their ball to roll close to the hole, it tells you a lot.  Even if the putter puts sidespin on his putt for the first few feet (i.e. Billy Mayfair), if their speed is somewhat decent, the end roll of their ball should give you a great read.

post #4 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by boil3rmak3r View Post
 

I had 5 holes today where watching other people's putts helped me hole my own putt....

 

While the majority of someone else's putt will give you a general idea of the slope of the green, the last few inches of their putt will tell you exactly how the green slopes.  Therefore, if their putt ends up very near the hole, the last inch of their ball's roll will tell you where the fall line is.

 

I see many folks ignoring the roll of their playing partners putts and just study the line they have.  I think this is a huge mistake.  If I still have a putt left, I watch everyone's putts closely.  If it stops near the hole, I watch the last inch of the roll specifically.  I haven't taken Aimpoint yet (I hope to at some point), but think watching other people putt can give you the fall line many times.

I think this is definitely smart, however, don't forget that most greens aren't one plane, and therefore, will have multiple fall lines.

 

Also, when you do take Aimpoint, you'll learn to feel the fall line/slope for your own exact putt, so there really is no reason to confuse your mind with information on somebody else's, unless it's right on your line.

post #5 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

I think this is definitely smart, however, don't forget that most greens aren't one plane, and therefore, will have multiple fall lines.

 

Also, when you do take Aimpoint, you'll learn to feel the fall line/slope for your own exact putt, so there really is no reason to confuse your mind with information on somebody else's, unless it's right on your line.

 

I didn't realize there were different fall lines.  I thought that a fall line was the line where a putt would be straight up hill or straight down hill.  I guess I'm wrong.  What is a fall line?

 

Edit:  I see that you are saying that a green isn't uniformly sloped throughout and one must account for the different slopes.  I agree.  My point is that, around the hole, you can tell a heck of a lot from closely watching others putt.  Plus, from what I've read about Aimpoint, what happens around the hole is ubber important.  If you have a putt with multiple fall lines, there is no perfect calculation for that.

post #6 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by boil3rmak3r View Post
 

While the majority of someone else's putt will give you a general idea of the slope of the green, the last few inches of their putt will tell you exactly how the green slopes.  Therefore, if their putt ends up very near the hole, the last inch of their ball's roll will tell you where the fall line is.

 

I see many folks ignoring the roll of their playing partners putts and just study the line they have.  I think this is a huge mistake.  If I still have a putt left, I watch everyone's putts closely.  If it stops near the hole, I watch the last inch of the roll specifically.  I haven't taken Aimpoint yet (I hope to at some point), but think watching other people putt can give you the fall line many times.

 

The last inch of the putt is the worst part to look at. Heck, the last six inches. The ball is rolling so slowly that any imperfection can cause a large amount of "wobble." Balls can easily move "uphill" during the last six inches or so of the putt, because the "micro-slopes" of the green aren't overpowered by the ball's momentum. It's easily diverted.

 

If you had said the last six FEET of a putt, you'd be more correct, but judging anything by the last foot of a putt is likely not all that beneficial.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by boil3rmak3r View Post
 

Plus, from what I've read about Aimpoint, what happens around the hole is ubber important.

 

Not particularly, no.

 

Let's consider a certain 20-foot putt that breaks 32 inches. Of that 32 inches, 6 inches of break occur in the last 5 feet. In other words, five feet out from the hole, the ball is traveling at a spot six inches from the center of the cup.

 

So the last 25% of the putt's distance accounts for less than 19% of the putt's break.

 

AimPoint doesn't consider what happens around the hole über-important. AimPoint considers the entire putt über-important, and if there was a "most important" region, it's the middle of the putt (it acts as an averaging agent to help you "average" the entire putt or one "chunk" of a putt).

post #7 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

The last inch of the putt is the worst part to look at. Heck, the last six inches. The ball is rolling so slowly that any imperfection can cause a large amount of "wobble." Balls can easily move "uphill" during the last six inches or so of the putt, because the "micro-slopes" of the green aren't overpowered by the ball's momentum. It's easily diverted.

Absolutely. Even a billiard ball on a dead straight table can turn perceptibly as it comes to a stop......
post #8 of 64

If I take a read off someone else's putt, it's to get a general break tendency when the slope is quite subtle.  Most of the time I'm confident in my own ability to read a green fairly well.  It's most difficult when the break is extreme so that even a good read is going to be half luck if you execute the speed well enough to hole it, or when it's so slight that it can be hard to tell if the putt is straight or has just enough break to miss the hole when aimed at the center.  The extreme break I don't normally need any help to see and read - it's right there in your face.  A two inch break in a 12 foot putt can be hard to read on an unfamiliar green no matter what method you use, so I may watch with the hope for a slight read.   

 

Most of the time I'm watching my companions putts until they stop just because that's what I do, not for any particular reason.  Most greens don't have a constant break anyway.  It will usually vary along the course of the putt, so taking a read from the last 6 - 12 inches can give one a false read.

post #9 of 64
The guys I usually play with are such bad putters, I close my eyes when they putt. One will almost NEVER get it within 6 feet on a 20 footer coming up short. And the other will usually leave a 6-8 foot come backer on a flat 10 footer. So no help there.

If I'm out as a single I will observe the others and pick out the better putter, then watch his ball- NOT HIS TECHNIQUE- as it approaches the hole or rolls past. Just as I watch MY putts going past the hole if I'm a bit bold. Makes it easier for the comebacker.
post #10 of 64

I watch other people's putts and try to get what information I can from them but I only use that information as sort of a tie breaker if I'm unsure. If the person can really roll the ball I put more stock in what I'm seeing than if they have a poor roll (especially on Bermuda).

 

I use the information from a putt from the opposite direction from mine and on the opposite side of the hole but I put much less stock in that than I do a putt on the same line and the same direction as mine.

 

It's crazy for me to not use that information if I am completely unsure but there are several areas of the greens at our course where I know enough from playing them to ignore what I saw from the other side.

 

I'm probably much more of a "homer" than most when it comes to putting because I'm a good mechanic on rolling the ball but a fairly poor green reader until I play a course enough times to really learn the greens. In other words I wouldn't be much of a travelling player.

post #11 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post

I think this is definitely smart, however, don't forget that most greens aren't one plane, and therefore, will have multiple fall lines.

Also, when you do take Aimpoint, you'll learn to feel the fall line/slope for your own exact putt, so there really is no reason to confuse your mind with information on somebody else's, unless it's right on your line.

I assume you have taken the Aimpoint class? If you had a 10' putt, do you think you'd be more likely to make it solely based on your Aimpoint calculations, or solely based on seeing someone else putt from a different angle to the hole (let's say your putt is from 11:00 and the other putt is from 1:00)?

I'm not trying to be snarky. I am sincerely wondering which you would prefer. To me, it seems like a no brainer that I'd want to see an actual ball roll towards the hole versus using my estimated calculations.
post #12 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by boil3rmak3r View Post


I assume you have taken the Aimpoint class? If you had a 10' putt, do you think you'd be more likely to make it solely based on your Aimpoint calculations, or solely based on seeing someone else putt from a different angle to the hole (let's say your putt is from 11:00 and the other putt is from 1:00)?

I'm not trying to be snarky. I am sincerely wondering which you would prefer. To me, it seems like a no brainer that I'd want to see an actual ball roll towards the hole versus using my estimated calculations.

I use both.  I'm still not that good on estimating the flatter putts, because my tendency is to try and find SOME break, and sometimes there just isn't any.  So if I already know that my putt is pretty flat and I'm going to have trouble getting a read with my feet, then I will absolutely watch somebody else's similar putt for help.

 

But if it's a little more "obvious" - for example, a 2 or 3% slope - then I will go with my Aimpoint read only.  My read gives me an exact spot to aim at, and all I'm going to get from watching somebody else's putt is that it curves some amount.  I won't be allowed to stand directly behind him so I can't possibly know the line he started it on, and therefore, can't figure out how much it breaks.

 

But, yeah, on anything that tends towards the flat, I will pay attention to other putts.  I'll have an idea that mine is pretty straight, and if I can just get a hint of break from somewhere else, then I can give myself more hole aim at by going inside right edge or something like that

post #13 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by boil3rmak3r View Post


I'm not trying to be snarky. I am sincerely wondering which you would prefer. To me, it seems like a no brainer that I'd want to see an actual ball roll towards the hole versus using my estimated calculations.

 

I don't think that anyone would argue that it's not helpful for an experienced golfer to watch someone else putt, especially along a line close to their own.  I think the issue lies in your suggestion that "last inch" of the putt provides a significant help.

post #14 of 64

I rely exclusively on my aimpoint read unless I am undecided on some aspect of my read.  So if I am unsure if I'm exactly at 2 or 3% and someone else's ball breaks more than I expect, I may err towards 3%.  If I see an opponent's ball diverge significantly from my read, that might give me reason to take another look at my aimpoint read, but if my aimpoint read comes back the same, I just go with it and try to block the prior putt from my memory.  

 

I do always pay attention though--it usually just confirms my aimpoint read and gives me more confidence.  

post #15 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

I won't be allowed to stand directly behind him so I can't possibly know the line he started it on, and therefore, can't figure out how much it breaks.

 

Technically you can (though it's considered against the rules of etiquette, it's only an actual rules violation if it's a partner).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post
 

I don't think that anyone would argue that it's not helpful for an experienced golfer to watch someone else putt, especially along a line close to their own.  I think the issue lies in your suggestion that "last inch" of the putt provides a significant help.

 

Yup.

 

Did my point about how the last 25% of a 20-foot putt accounted for less than 19% of the break not get any responses? Did you read it, @boil3rmak3r? The last inch tells you nothing. The last six inches barely tell you anything at all.

post #16 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by David in FL View Post

I don't think that anyone would argue that it's not helpful for an experienced golfer to watch someone else putt, especially along a line close to their own.  I think the issue lies in your suggestion that "last inch" of the putt provides a significant help.

Yeah, the "last inch" was probably a bit extreme. I know that imperfections in the green can cause a ball to wobble at slow speeds, but I also know that gravity affects a ball much more at slow speeds. So, maybe the better thing to say is the last foot...
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsc123 View Post

I rely exclusively on my aimpoint read unless I am undecided on some aspect of my read.  So if I am unsure if I'm exactly at 2 or 3% and someone else's ball breaks more than I expect, I may err towards 3%.  If I see an opponent's ball diverge significantly from my read, that might give me reason to take another look at my aimpoint read, but if my aimpoint read comes back the same, I just go with it and try to block the prior putt from my memory.  

I do always pay attention though--it usually just confirms my aimpoint read and gives me more confidence.  

While I bet you are really good at reading greens, this mentality confuses me (along with @iacas's previous response). Most people's reviews about Aimpoint basically say that longer putts with multiple slopes is an educated guess. Most pins are located in a spot where the slope is pretty much the same within a certain radius of the hole (that radius is often 5' or more). If you have a putt within that radius, seeing another ball roll in it tells you everything you need to know. If you have a putt outside that radius, at least you know what the latter part of your putt will do.

If I had a putting contest with an Aimpoint student from 5' with the stipulation that I could watch one putt roll toward the hole and they couldn't, I think I'd win most of the time.
post #17 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by boil3rmak3r View Post

Yeah, the "last inch" was probably a bit extreme. I know that imperfections in the green can cause a ball to wobble at slow speeds, but I also know that gravity affects a ball much more at slow speeds. So, maybe the better thing to say is the last foot...

 

The last foot is still not super-important.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by boil3rmak3r View Post

While I bet you are really good at reading greens, this mentality confuses me (along with @iacas's previous response). Most people's reviews about Aimpoint basically say that longer putts with multiple slopes is an educated guess. 

 

So… what's the relevance of that statement (it's a highly educated guess - I can pretty much peg them to a fairly accurate spot - you just "chunk" the putt into several planar sections). AImPoint is far and away the most accurate system I've found for reading ANY putt (that's legal to use - obviously the lasers they use to map greens are even more accurate… which they used to draw the AimPoint line on Golf Channel for a few years).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by boil3rmak3r View Post

If I had a putting contest with an Aimpoint student from 5' with the stipulation that I could watch one putt roll toward the hole and they couldn't, I think I'd win most of the time.

 

I could probably beat you. :-) Even if you got to watch my AimPoint putts (which I'd make a lot of) as your "one putt to watch."

post #18 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by boil3rmak3r View Post

... but I also know that gravity affects a ball much more at slow speeds. So, maybe the better thing to say is the last foot...

Be careful here.  The golfer in me says "I know what he means" but the engineer in me says "that is dead wrong."  Gravity doesn't vary with speed.  Unless you hit the ball so hard that it comes off the ground, it's going to be affected by gravity at the exact same rate for the entirety of the putt.

 

I think what you mean to say is that at slower speeds, the break appears more pronounced (because it occurs over a shorter distance) and is thus a bit easier to see.

 

And I think 1' is still pushing the envelope a bit.  Aimpoint teaches us to hit putts 9" past the hole so as to eliminate the "wobble effect."  At a bare minimum, I think you need to be looking more at the last 2 or 3 feet, or like Erik suggested, the last 6 feet.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by boil3rmak3r View Post

If I had a putting contest with an Aimpoint student from 5' with the stipulation that I could watch one putt roll toward the hole and they couldn't, I think I'd win most of the time.

LOL ... I certainly wouldn't put any money on it because you are probably right, but it would be a fun little experiment! :beer:

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