Putter Aim
(Using Charts)

Your Putter Aim determines the starting line

of your putt.


IN SHORT

Charts that show the amount of break on a putt can be misleading. This is because they are based on a number of assumptions that you may not be aware of.



Spot or Pathway?

How you decide on your putter aim is based on your aiming preference.

Do you see a pathway and entry point to the hole, or do you pick a specific spot as your target?


Fall Line

In deciding how your ball will behave, it is essential to find the straight putt - in other words the local fall line. Putts on the fall line are either straight uphill or straight downhill. All other putts have some break to them.

Depending where your ball is situated in relation to the fall line, your putt will break either right to left or left to right. The important question is how much should you allow for the break?


Degree of Break

Assuming a tilted surface with a constant back-to-front slope (only one high side and one low side), there are a number of factors that will influence largely, but not exclusively, the roll of your ball:

  • the speed of the green surface,

  • the degree of slope,
  • the direction from where you putt.

Combining this information with a constant delivery speed at the hole for every putt (e.g. a premise that all missed putts will roll 17 inches past the hole) it is possible to calculate a specific target for each breaking putt at so many inches from the centre or edge of the hole.

For example, for an uphill 10-foot putt from 4 o'clock on a green stimping at 8 feet with a slope of 2% (1.2 degrees), you should aim 7 inches from the edge of the hole.


Mathematical Model

The success of any mathematical model relies on your perception skills to:


  • find the fall line and slope direction,
  • calculate accurately the distance from your ball to the hole,
  • assess correctly the degree of the slope and speed of the green, and then
  • stroke your putt at the pace used in the calculations of the charts.


It also depends on:

  • a consistent green speed for the 18 holes on the day you are playing,
  • no variation in the degree or direction of the slope between your ball and the hole.


Presumption of Accuracy

However, there is a presumption of accuracy that is usually not there. For example you may fail to identify the fall line or the distance (and orientation to the fall line) of your ball to the hole. Your delivery speed may also be significantly off.

My main reservation to a reliance on charts is:

  • they take away the instinctive feel that comes from eye-balling a putt,
  • your touch may be entirely different to that used for the calculations,
  • the longer the length of your putt, the less likely you will be putting on a single flat surface with a constant slope,
  • they have the potential to slow down a game that is already taking too long. You are now reliant on the interpretation of a series of numbers rather than a 'look and go' approach.


Putter Aim

I am not against any tool that helps you to putt better. In fact, I would encourage its use if it helps to improve your putter aim.

However, I believe putting aids that offer a best-fit aimpoint for every breaking putt should be used on the practice putting green or during a practice round.

With the knowledge that you gain you can then approach these types of putts in competition with greater confidence.


Mapping the Greens

By all means map the greens for the local fall lines and degree of slope at probably hole locations. This is useful information to have with you on the course.

In the end I believe you should rely more on your intuitive brain than a set of preordained numbers for your putter aim. When you become caught up in analysis and the manipulation of the pace of your putt, your putting is likely to suffer.

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Related Topics
(Highlighted)

aiming preference

pathway

fall line

break

17 inches

map the greens