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More Advice I Hate: The Apex of the Putt

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This image probably explains why about as well as I could with words:



If you aim at the apex of the putt, you're basically always going to miss the putt unless you (subconsciously) pull or push the putt out to the true starting line of the putt.

As illustrated in the image, too, most average golfers drastically under-read the break as it is, and when you combine it with the idea of the apex, they really get into trouble.

I've always been a pretty good putter. I play a lot more break than most people. If you watch where poorer putters will say they want to start the ball it's always always between the red and blue dots, and then some will pull or push the putt to get it closer to the line because their body knows it's not going to work.

I also play a bit more break because I die the ball at the hole. I think that may have contributed to my ability to read greens pretty well - most people who take good runs at putts have a really hard time once the putt gets much break in it.

I also grew up putting on greens built in the 50s and 60s, so they slope a lot more than a modern green. Greens were slower back then, but now they're faster, and Lake View has several greens on which you can putt off the green or which you have to aim perpendicular to the hole to get the ball to funnel down properly.
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I putt my best when I don't put to a spot at all. I see how the ball is going to roll and how much it will break, then I try to make the ball on the line I see. So in your example, would simply try to make the ball roll on the arching line. I do this best when I see a ball mark or scuff on the green near the apex of the putt. Then I just tell myself, the ball has to be inside or outside that mark as it goes by to make the putt.
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I putt my best when I don't put to a spot at all. I see how the ball is going to roll and how much it will break, then I try to make the ball on the line I see.

Well said. Thats what i do too.

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The apex of the putt is the point of impact. Most people have no idea how much putts break. Pelz has done alot of studies on this.
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Also, the apex is relative to how hard you hit the putt. Some have been trained to die the ball into the hole, while others believe you should give the ball enough speed to go past the hole by a foot (if you miss it)
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The apex is always the point of impact on a one way breaking putt regardless of how hard you hit it. The ball is falling off that original starting line as it losses speed and the more break the harder it falls. On a putt that breaks 6 inches you have to aim over twice that because as soon as you hit it is breaking and the high point is impact.
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I putted to the apex all last season and guess what? Yep, I sucked. I have been practicing on reading the entire put, with a small emphasis on the last 1/3 or 1/4 because that would be when the ball moves the most.
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Interesting and very informative thread...I've always been taught from a young age how to read putts and honestly i feel is the best part of my game. I was taught to do as moe said up top; feel the break and putt along what is felt, not necessarily to a definitive break or apex point...
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On a putt that breaks 6 inches you have to aim over twice that because as soon as you hit it is breaking and the high point is impact.

Doesn't make much sense. If you are aiming twice as much, then the putt breaks 12" and not 6". The trick is understanding this and learn to read greens will all the break in mind. The speed you want to hit the putt determines how much break you should play, or vice versa. Also a huge factor is the actual speed of the green. The rule of thumb is that faster greens break more. The reason is that when the green is slower, you are hitting the putt hard enough to nullify break early in the putt.

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Never heard this advice before, and as it seems, that's for the better. I have three things in mind when putting.

a) The shape of the putt, imagining how it will roll and break
b) The starting line of the putt. I picture my imaginary line, find a spot a couple of inches in front of the ball, following the line I want to start the putt on, and aim at that spot
c) The speed

If my speed is off, chances are good it's because I'm not confident about the line and don't focus enough on the speed. When I have found my spot and is standing over the ball, I don't want to think about the starting line anymore. Not unusual when playing on a new green where I'm not familiar with how the ball will break.
My set up is supposed to take care of that. I picture the putt going into the hole, find the right speed and hit the putt.
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Doesn't make much sense. If you are aiming twice as much, then the putt breaks 12" and not 6". The trick is understanding this and learn to read greens will all the break in mind. The speed you want to hit the putt determines how much break you should play, or vice versa. Also a huge factor is the actual speed of the green. The rule of thumb is that faster greens break more. The reason is that when the green is slower, you are hitting the putt hard enough to nullify break early in the putt.

What you visual see as the high point, you have too aim for more than twice that. It starts breaking as soon as you hit it so you have to play much more break than what you actually see. It is hard to articulate this. It is discussed in the putting bible by Pelz and the Mickelson video. If you aim for the top of the break as most players do, you will either subconsciously pull or push, or miss low

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Doesn't make much sense. If you are aiming twice as much, then the putt breaks 12" and not 6". The trick is understanding this and learn to read greens will all the break in mind. The speed you want to hit the putt determines how much break you should play, or vice versa. Also a huge factor is the actual speed of the green. The rule of thumb is that faster greens break more. The reason is that when the green is slower, you are hitting the putt hard enough to nullify break early in the putt.

That's not the only reason. A ball at rest will roll on a smooth glass surface turned only a few degrees but will stay at rest on, say, a shag carpet angled several degrees more. Basically, slower greens resist movement, no matter the direction, more than fast greens.

What you visual see as the high point, you have too aim for more than twice that. It starts breaking as soon as you hit it so you have to play much more break than what you actually see. It is hard to articulate this. It is discussed in the putting bible by Pelz and the Mickelson video. If you aim for the top of the break as most players do, you will either subconsciously pull or push, or miss low

Yeah, that's the whole topic... don't aim at the apex, aim at the true starting line. You're re-stating something that didn't need re-stating and in doing so muddying up the language. A putt that breaks 6" breaks 6", not 12.

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I rarley miss left to right putts on the low side, but its kinda interesting i suppose. My usual miss is high and through the break.
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I never thought of it the way you explain it. I put to the axpex, but I never thought of it as a direct line. I think of it as the point I am trying to send my ball over. So I aim in such a way that I believe the ball will reach that spot. This requires that you visualize the break for the entire put. I definitely agree that emphasizing the break the final 1/3 of the putt is when the ball is slowing is crucial. I do fimr short putts, under 4 feet, especially late in the day when spike marks and foot prints destroy dying putts.

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I put to the axpex, but I never thought of it as a direct line. I think of it as the point I am trying to send my ball over. So I aim in such a way that I believe the ball will reach that spot.

Right, so you don't putt to the apex. You putt to a point that will send the ball over the apex (or any other point on the line - it becomes somewhat arbitrary at that point). That's different.

The point I'm making is that a lot of amateurs hear the advice "putt to the apex" and they try to do just that.
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So I just got my latest Golf magazine and flip to page 52 and what do I see? This very same thing discussed.
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