There's Only One Sweet Spot

Monday January 26th, 2009
Even with perfect aim you'll miss if you don't hit the sweet spot.
Leonard Kamsler

If you take a close look at your game, you'll find that you make most of your two-foot putts, but begin to miss a significant number of putts somewhere between three and six feet from the hole. Everyone does.

There's a combination of things that lead to putting inaccuracy as you get farther from the hole. Where you aim your putterface and how firmly you stroke the putt are major factors. Then there's the break due to the slope, and the speed and quality of the green. But you know all this: After a few years of playing the game, your aim became instinctive, you developed the touch to create the proper energy in your stroke for good putt-speed control, and the knowledge of just how much your putts tend to break at the speeds you roll them became ingrained in your DNA.

A factor you may not be paying attention to, however, is the quality of your impact. The precise location of the strike on your putterface influences both the amount of energy transferred to the putt and its starting direction. There's only one small point on any putterface that's truly "sweet" — the point on the strike area that results in zero putter-head rotation and maximum energy transfer at contact.

To see if you're stroking putts on the sweet spot, place a piece of impact tape on the face of your putter and roll 30 different-length putts on the practice green. If your impact pattern is less than 3/8 inch in diameter and near your putter's sweet spot, that's good. If it's larger, or centered away from the sweet spot, you need to practice with a feedback device called the "Teacher" clip (visit to train your putting stroke for solid impact. And I promise: Groove a sweet-spot stroke and you'll see sweet putting results!

The distance in yards that the average 20-handicapper would find himself behind the average PGA Tour professional's drive if they played in the same group (see graph, right). Can you imagine hitting every second shot from 100 yards closer to the green on every hole?

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