#19 Toughest Shot in Golf

doublebreakingputts

In this issue we continue the countdown to  #19 of the 20 Toughest Shots In Golf. There is a corresponding drill afterwards.

Toughest Shot #19 – The Double Breaking Putt

Sinking a putt that breaks twice can seem impossible sometimes. You not only have to consider speed, grain, and slope, you also have to deal with the two breaks that can bend the opposite way. Long or short these kinds of putts can cost you strokes—especially if you mis-read the second break. If this break goes downhill, the putt can run right off the green. That’s probably why these putts are 19 on our list of the 20 toughest shots in golf.

Below are six keys to beating double-breaking putts:

  1.  Take a bird’s eye view of the putt
  2. Crouch down to get a good read
  3. Study both breaks carefully
  4. Pinpoint the second break
  5. Pay attention to the last part of second break
  6. Overestimate the second break

Get in the habit of reading putts as you walk to the green. You can see changes in its contour better from faraway than up close. It’s called the bird’s eye view. Once on the green, crouch down to get a good read on the breaks.

Start by breaking the putt into two sections by walking the length of the putt. Then review each section individually. Reading it in sections makes it easier to calculate what the putt will do.

Next, pinpoint where you want the ball to start when it enters the putt’s second section. This is the apex of the first break. It’s your aim point. Now study the second break. Pay close attention to the area near the hole. The green’s contour there impacts the putt’s direction more than anywhere else.

Finally, overestimate the second break. As the putt loses speed, slope, and grain will affect this break more than the first section. Most golfers don’t account for enough break to start with anyway. So whatever you think the break is, double it. That way if you miss the putt on the high side, your ball will roll toward the hole, not away from it.

Some golfers like to read long putts from the sides and from behind the hole and the ball. That’s okay, if you get a better read. But do it quickly. You don’t want to hold everyone up. If one of your playing partners has a similar putt and is putting first, watch her putt to see what it does. You can learn a lot from doing so.