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At What Length are you Trying to Hole A Putt?


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I’d first like to thank @cnosil for showing me the Manalo golf Instagram account.  I got about 2 hours worth of laughs in, some of his stuff is a little over the top, but over all has some pretty good basic information, and some ok entertainment.  Haha.

One of his tips was to make a 3’ hole around the stick to aim your longer putts.  I used to to this, but have since moved to trying to hole this long putts.  I usually overshoot them and have a long comebacker…

 

Last round, anything over 15’ I used that method again, and it seemed to leave me in a lot better spot. At what point do you aim to hole the putt?  Obviously, we would all like to do this every time. 
 

Do you have a distance where you really lock in?

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  • Shankster changed the title to At What Length are you Trying to Hole A Putt?

Make everything! 

but seriously within 10’ I’m disappointed if I don’t hole it out, realistically I know statistics aren’t in my favor but still. I’ve become consistent 5’ and in but I want to make 10’ or less

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8 minutes ago, Lacassem said:

Make everything! 

but seriously within 10’ I’m disappointed if I don’t hole it out, realistically I know statistics aren’t in my favor but still. I’ve become consistent 5’ and in but I want to make 10’ or less

Yeah.  You know me… I’m trying knock down the flagstick on everything… putting included.  looking at a more strategic way to play seems like it will bring the scores down.  I will say those long putts where I aimed to get it close, I got it well within the 3’ circle.  Something to it, maybe I’ll bring it in to 2’ circle on the long ones.

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Just now, Shankster said:

Yeah.  You know me… I’m trying knock down the flagstick on everything… putting included.  looking at a more strategic way to play seems like it will bring the scores down.  I will say those long putts where I aimed to get it close, I got it well within the 3’ circle.  Something to it, maybe I’ll bring it in to 2’ circle on the long ones.

I think of it as 2 putting “get it close knock I in 2”. I like the put it in a circle perimeter thought though so I’ll give this a whirl, lord knows my approach and short game needs improvement so I’m not 25’+ every single time!

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1 minute ago, Lacassem said:

I think of it as 2 putting “get it close knock I in 2”. I like the put it in a circle perimeter thought though so I’ll give this a whirl, lord knows my approach and short game needs improvement so I’m not 25’+ every single time!

It helped me a Bunch, I played with the pro at a course near me as a kid.  That was his deal.  Putt to a 3’ circle on long Putts.  I thought I was decent at putting.  My stats say I am, but I left myself with a lot of 5-6’ clean up putts that require waaaay to much attention.

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I'd say that somewhere between 10 and 20 feet is where my intention gradually changes.  I think its realistic to expect distance control to within about 10% of the distance of the putt.  So if I'm aiming it 2 feet past the hole, and I'm 10 feet away, my longest first putt will end up another foot further away, 3 feet past.  I can make most of those.  If I'm aiming 2 feet past the hole from 20 feet, and go 10% past that, I'm 4 feet away, and those start to become miss-able.  At 30 feet, 40 feet, that same 10% long miss becomes a real cause for 3 putts.  The way I think of it is that I gradually change my planned ending distance as I'm further from the hole.  Closer than 10 feet, I want to hit the putt a couple feet past, to give myself a chance to make it.  From much over 20 feet. I want to die it at the hole, so my worst putts aren't 4 or 5 feet beyond the hole.

As an aside, this is what the best players in the world do.  Mark Broadie shows "scatter diagrams" of PGA Tour players.  From closer, the center of the distribution is past the hole.  For longer putts, the center of the "shotgun blast" is centered pretty much right on the hole.

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The only time I putt to a 3 foot circle is when I'm practicing putting on the range.  On the course, even though I know it's unrealistic, I'm trying to hole every putt and every chip.  Distance control is something that I work on, so I focus on how far I want to hit it and then choose my starting line.  

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I am always trying to hole the putt. Speed control is a top priority for me and as I approach 20' the 3' circle starts to come into play.  I do manage my expectations regarding actually making the putt and am probably more irritated when my putt is outside the 3' range.   

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I'm always going for the hole. If I make it great. If I don't it's usually a tap in. That is unless it is some type of crazy slope that takes the ball away no matter what you do!

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Putting is the strength of my game and I rarely putt defensively.  

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5 minutes ago, cnosil said:

I am always trying to hole the putt. Speed control is a top priority for me and as I approach 20' the 3' circle starts to come into play.  I do manage my expectations regarding actually making the putt and am probably more irritated when my putt is outside the 3' range.   

 

21 minutes ago, CarlH said:

The only time I putt to a 3 foot circle is when I'm practicing putting on the range.  On the course, even though I know it's unrealistic, I'm trying to hole every putt and every chip.  Distance control is something that I work on, so I focus on how far I want to hit it and then choose my starting line.  

I think these 2 comments are keys. If I have a 5 footer, I read it, try to gauge the speed and hit it. This doesn't change if I am 35 feet. The process and intention are the same. Also work on speed. You can approach every putt the same way if you are confident your speed is correct. 

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Speed was great putting defensively as @jlukes described it.  Most of them ended up hole high or just passed.

Inside 10’ I am also looking to make everything.

I am usually pretty good at picking the line… maybe I’ll make the circle smaller next time.

 

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To be 100% honest to all (and especially myself)  10 feet.  I've been lucky and drained some long ones, but 10 footers are the ones that i'm trying to make constantly.  I've also been working on getting my lag putts closer than 4 feet.  My speed has been off this year, and i've been working on it, getting longer ones close. that's just my opinion.  it looks as though that's about average.

 

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I have always heard “speed is 80%” of putting so I try to make most of my putting about speed, but trying to find the right speed where it dies at the hole or “trickles” in there. I try and picture where I need to hit the ball where if there were no hole it would stop then figure out the line. I do this whether it’s 3 feet or 50. I also try and picture based on speed and break the blade of grass at the cup where the ball will roll in.
 

Aiming so precise in both speed and line seems to give me more room for error. 

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From inside of 10 feet, I'm trying to make everything. Outside of 30 feet, I'm going to make very certain that whatever my read is, the ball is breaking towards the hole as it loses speed ... so I tend to miss "long" putts on the high side of the hole, but rarely have them slide away to that 5-6 foot knee-knocker range. When they go in, they generally topple in from the high side of the hole.

From 10-30 feet, it really depends on the putt. A flattish 20 footer without much side-to-side break on medium-speed greens? I'm trying to hole that with a "just past the hole" weight. A sidehill 12 footer on fast greens? See the above strategy for keeping out of trouble!

I will say I tend to putt faster greens better; if they slow down too far I struggle to get the ball to the hole, and always feel like I need too much "hit" on the makeable 6-10 footers. I love places that run their greens in the 10.5-11.5 range. Fast enough to be true with a little runout, but not so fast that play becomes ridiculously hard for many amateurs (and translates to pace of play issues).

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Green speed is something that boggles me.   I just played Bay Harbor, still owe you all a review…. The greens were like cement.  They are no fun.  Stupid fast greens just don’t make any sense to me.  Unless it’s a giant bowl that ends at the hole.

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It's all frame of mind.  The best putters aren't always the best technical players; it's a combination of mental strength and technique.  

Rarely do I ever stand over a 12 footer thinking gee, I hope I am good enough to make this...No way...I want to drain that putt. 

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7 minutes ago, bens197 said:

It's all frame of mind.  The best putters aren't always the best technical players; it's a combination of mental strength and technique.  

Rarely do I ever stand over a 12 footer thinking gee, I hope I am good enough to make this...No way...I want to drain that putt. 

Good point.  Self confidence goes along way.  

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15 hours ago, CarlH said:

The only time I putt to a 3 foot circle is when I'm practicing putting on the range.  On the course, even though I know it's unrealistic, I'm trying to hole every putt and every chip.  Distance control is something that I work on, so I focus on how far I want to hit it and then choose my starting line.  

I'm just picking this one because it seems representative of many.  No matter how good you are, you're always going to have some variation in distance.  You'll hit some longer than you intend to, and some shorter.  That variability, the size of your "scatter pattern" will increase with increasing length of putt.  I used 10% of the length of the putt in my earlier post, I think that's a reasonable goal for most of us.  

When I'm trying to make a putt, my goal is to get just about every putt at least to the hole, which means that the center of the "scatter pattern" is a couple feet beyond the hole.  That's reasonable when I'm 10 or 15 feet away, my longest efforts will be a foot or a little more past the center of the pattern, so maybe 3 feet past the hole.  But if I'm 40 feet away, and I want the short end of the pattern to be at the hole, the center of the pattern would need to be as much as 4 feet past the hole, and the longest end would be 8 feet past.  That's a recipe for 3-putting.  And please don't tell me you don't ever miss your intended distance by 4 feet, we all do.  Strokes Gained data shows that PGA Tour pros 3-putt from 40 feet more often (10%) than they 1-putt (4%), and their "scatter patterns" are centered at the hole.  For us lesser-skilled mortals, trying to hit every putt past the hole in order to make, regardless of distance, is likely to lead to higher scores.

Of course some of this is semantics.  When I'm putting from 40 feet its important to me that my intended speed is just enough to get the ball to the hole.  Yes, I'm trying to make it, but the primary focus is having no more than 2 putts.

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I try to make everything and if speed control is on then it’s finishing within a 3’ circle

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