A useful method when you have a
mid-to-long range breaking putt.
A method of aiming when you have a longish breaking putt. The apex of the break is a point furthest from the base line. It is prudent to pick a point higher than the apex.
Aiming Method Z is a popular method of aiming at the Apex of the Break (see Word of Caution below).
For shorter range putts there are other methods that are more appropriate. For example, picking out an aimpoint (target) on the Fall Line through the hole (Aiming Method X), or imagining a line of balls to the side of the hole and aiming at one of them (Aiming Method Y).
The direct line from the ball to the hole is the Base Line. This is the line you would take if your putt was straight. The Apex (also known as the Break Point) is the furthest part of the curve off this direct line.
At this point the direction of the roll changes. Your ball stops moving away from the Base Line and starts rolling towards it.
To pick the Apex you should read your putt backwards as it is important to know what your ball will do as it slows down on its approach to the hole. This is where your ball will break the most.
It is also important to appreciate that there can be more than one Break Point to a putt. The key to all breaking putts is in understanding that the amount of break is determined by the speed of the ball. The slower your ball is travelling, the more it will break.
The middle of the cup on breaking putts is not on a straight line from the ball to the hole. The true centre of the hole changes on each putt.
If you imagine the hole as a clockface, a right-to-left uphill putt will enter the hole between five and three o'clock depending on the severity of the slope and the speed your ball is travelling.
There is a word of caution when using Aiming Method Z. Always pick a spot (aimpoint) that is higher uphill than the Apex itself. When you putt on a slope, the side force of gravity will cause your ball immediately to break downwards the moment you make contact with it. If you putt at the Apex, you will lose the putt to the low side.
Because the ball always rolls below its initial starting line, a smart move is to visualise a hoop on the high side of the apex and putt your ball through the hoop.
The steeper the slope of the green over which your ball will roll to the hole, the higher up the slope and the further away from the apex of the break your imaginary hoop must be.
For breaking putts most golfers don't read enough break and leave their ball below the hole. When you miss a putt low, it means that you never gave it chance to go in.
Finally in Aiming Method Z when you set up on a breaking putt, you must make sure that you align your body and putterface so that you are aimed at a spot above the Break Point.
Even after you have set up correctly, you should avoid looking at the hole just before starting your stroke. Your focus must be directed to the spot above the Apex of the Break, not the hole.
To view a video clip of Mike Sweeney of AimPoint Golf explaining the geometry of a breaking putt and why the apex of the break is never high enough. CLICK HERE