Be Firm with Fast Downhillers


The Situation

You’re facing a slick, downhill breaker. The tendency under these circumstances is to make a super-short, jabby stroke.

What to do

You have to impart enough energy into the ball to get it started, but if you quit on the stroke there’s a good chance the ball will skip off line. Think back to how dead the impact felt last time you mistakenly struck a putt off-center toward the toe—and how far short of the hole you ended up. That’s your key.

Why it works

By making contact toward the toe, you spill energy instead of transferring it. The ball will start on the line you selected, but only the slope and slickness of the green will act to keep it in motion. Through friction and gravity, the ball tends to die—safely in
or near the hole.

• Address this putt so the toe of your putter is aligned with the outside third of the ball.
• Rehearse a short, slow backswing and a delibe rate forward swing. Hold the putter firmly enough to prevent your “toe hit” from opening up the blade.
• Make the backswing and forward swing you rehearsed. You will experience the deadened feel at impact that offsets the slick conditions.