LOW HANDICAPPER: How to Master Slipper Putts
There are few putts scarier than a slick, big-breaking downhill putt. Just ask any pro who gets above the hole at Augusta National. With these slippery putts, about all it takes to get the ball moving is a gentle breeze. Hit it too hard, and you might find yourself with a similar-length putt on the other side of the hole. Use these keys to take the fear out of these fast-charging putts.
KEY 1: PUTT TO THE APEX: Determine how hard you want to hit the ball, keeping in mind that it could be a fraction of the putt's total length. Next, look for the high point of the putt's break—i.e., where gravity takes over and the ball starts to fall gently toward the hole. Forget about the actual hole itself and aim at the apex, as if it were the hole, and start the putt in that direction.
KEY 2: FIND THE SWEET SPOT: Align the ball in the center of the clubface and strike your putt there—this will generate more topspin and allow it to hold its line better. With today's heel-toe-weighted putters, any ball struck on the toe will cause the putterhead to twist open. So while it may soften the blow, it will also produce unwanted sidespin.
KEY 3: CALM ACCELERATION: Take several practice strokes, getting a feel for how the putterhead slows as it swings past the ball. Think "longer back, shorter through," which will produce a soft enough blow to get the ball to the apex. Let the collision between the ball and the face kill the putterhead's momentum; do not decelerate the head prior to impact.