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Short Putts Firm?

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Who here hits there short putts firm, trying to take break out?

Honestly i do not like this method, because it forces you to be very precise, because if you miss slightly you will end up liping out or end up with a very similar put on the other side. I rather play towards the side of the hole it breaks slightly from and play it so the ball has a chance to drop on the high side.

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I think there's a good mentality hitting your short putts harder, it's more about not decelerating or making an awkward stroke. There's only so short a stroke you can make with good tempo, before you mess up your stroke. If you're 3 feet away, hitting a 4 footer pace is probably smart.

Is a fast putt more likely to blow through the break? Is it more likely to go in? Probably not really. But I think you're more likely to make a smooth and solid stroke if you're thinking like that.

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3 feet or less I try to hit it firm.  4 feet too, unless there's a lot of break.  If I don't I tend to hit it too hard anyway miss high.

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The pros hit putts firm for a reason.  I've got a regular golf buddy who does this and he's deadly on those short putts that can easily bring you to your knees trying to second guess the break and get the ball to die in the hole.  As Ben said aim for the back of the cup and hit it hard enough so that it hits it.

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Originally Posted by Chief Broom

The pros hit putts firm for a reason.

Is that reason because they don't know any better?

If I asked you to putt a ball towards two points on green (just points, like the tip of a pencil), but told you that your margin for error if you putted at point A to be considered a "success" was +/- 2° and to putt at point B was +/- 0.3°, would you choose to putt to point A or point B?

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There are a lot of variables to consider when deciding on a firm versus easy stroke at short putts, downhill,uphill,sidehill,grain,speed,match play vs stroke play etc...for me it has more to do with just how comfortble I feel making a firm versus easy stroke. One reason I would say us amatuers should probably lean towards firm is the one thing I see the pros do on TV almost everytime they finish putting out....they tamp down spikemarks around the cup, if amatuers would do this as well I would be willing to bet maybe 1 or 2 more putts would find the hole versus bumping off to oneside or having the speed killed by spike marks. Whenever I'm the one pulling out the flagstick I try to stand as far away as possible from the cup while doing it and also from a point that I don't think any of my playing partners may have to putt across.

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Honestly I simply try to pick the right capture speed almost every time.  Not sure if this is correct, but I feel like the amount the hole shrinks when hitting putts firm is more than the amount that spikemarks and imperfections in the green would knock the ball offline.  That would be the only somewhat legitimate reason for hitting putts firmer than usual.  Never try to take break out.  It's there, so just learn to read it.

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Originally Posted by iacas

Is that reason because they don't know any better?

If I asked you to putt a ball towards two points on green (just points, like the tip of a pencil), but told you that your margin for error if you putted at point A to be considered a "success" was +/- 2° and to putt at point B was +/- 0.3°, would you choose to putt to point A or point B?

What if you have a straight 3 footer?  Do you hit it firm or still aim for 6 inches past?

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Originally Posted by The Recreational Golfer

I don't try to take the break out, but I don't finesse them into the hole, either.


Same for me, I'm somewhere in between.

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Originally Posted by dsc123

What if you have a straight 3 footer?  Do you hit it firm or still aim for 6 inches past?

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

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Originally Posted by iacas

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


I believe Dave Pelz did a "scientific" study of some sort and concluded that the perfect distance for missing a putt, if you have to miss, is 17 inches.

Supposedly takes into consideration that the ball is likely to roll truer at that speed, and a golfer is more likely to make the comeback at that distance.

Of course every golfer is different. I also have heard Jack Nicklaus contend that dying a putt in the hole is the best tactic because that gives it a better chance to go in either side as well as the front.

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Originally Posted by Texian

I believe Dave Pelz did a "scientific" study of some sort and concluded that the perfect distance for missing a putt, if you have to miss, is 17 inches.

His data is outdated.

His idea was that the ball had to be rolling at that speed to avoid the "lumpy donut" effect. He vastly over-stated how lumpy the donut can get, basically. 6 inches past is ideal, but we teach 6-12 inches just to cut down on a few putts left half a roll short. :)

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Originally Posted by Texian

I believe Dave Pelz did a "scientific" study of some sort and concluded that the perfect distance for missing a putt, if you have to miss, is 17 inches.

Pelz did not say that 17" was the magic number for all putts.  The optimum distance varied with the speed of the greens, whether uphill or downhill, the type of grass, etc.  For example, he stated that on some greens where the grain is very strong, he found that 36" past was the optimum distance.  At some U.S. Open greens, he found that 5" was the optimum distance. 17" was what he found to be the average optimum distance past the hole.

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Originally Posted by nickolasjt

take out break and firm it in... it takes out variables, and you have a confident stroke.

what variables does it remove?

The only thing to putting is speed and line.  No matter how hard you hit the ball, you still have only those two things.  Why add more RISK to a shot when you can minimize it by playing the proper speed to the hole?

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Note: This thread is 2784 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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