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The Force Awakens

In light of the recent release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, it seems fitting to re-publish this article on the real force that is going to help you make more putts.

How many times have we had a putt power-lip-out or crash into the back of the hole only to see it pop out and come to rest on the other side of the cup? The answer is probably more times than we care to admit, but a simple understanding of the Force can solve those problems. Don't think you're a Jedi? Well, good news is there Jedi experience is not required.

We don’t need to be in a galaxy far, far away to learn how the force of gravity affects our putts. We all know what gravity is, but what does it mean for your putting? When a ball is rolling towards and over the cup, gravity needs time to pull that ball down into the cup.

This is where capture speed, the pace at which a ball is rolling, comes into play. If a ball is traveling at the proper pace for gravity to pull it down into the cup, we call that effective capture speed. If a ball is traveling faster, the cup size will become smaller and the capture speed is not as effective. How much smaller does the cup become? Let’s take a closer look.

To the guy in your scramble that hammers it six feet past the cup and exclaims “I gave it a run!”: He had as good a chance of making the putt as a guy that left it short. Six feet by is too much speed for the cup to handle and the ball simply will not go in.

That said, we’ll just make sure every putt drips over the front edge of the cup, right? Wrong. The last thing we want is a minor imperfection in the surface or gust of wind to keep the putt from reaching the hole.

To measure about what proper speed is about, 6 to 12 inches past the cup is a safe reference point. You’ll be making the cup larger and have an element of predictability on your short putts. And if you were wondering...

The Force wil be with you. Always.

Don’t think you have the touch or feel to roll putts with better capture speed? Let Preston Combs and his SAM PuttLab show you how it works today!

Thank you Erik Barzeski for the illustration used to show the practical nature of capture speed. You can follow him for other great golf tips at @iacas on Twitter or check out

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