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The Slippery Slope

Timestamp: Sunday morning, 6:30AM

Location: Your nearest putting green

You wander onto the freshly cut surface ready to build some confidence for your round. The magic wand emerges from the bag, velcro cover torn off with authority. Three fresh nuggets fall from their shiny cardboard sleeve and plop onto the green. You shuffle them 5 feet from the nearest cup.

You are ready.

The first putt looks mostly straight. Bang! Firmly in the back of the cup (pre-COVID story folks, relax).

Then you slide a foot to the right and the next ball misses low and left. Definitely a pull. Gotta fix that.

Slide over a bit more. Again! Another pull and a devastating lip out.

Must’ve been hit too hard… Or was it that pull again? Maybe I just aimed wrong…

Live Scoreboard

Doubts - A lot

Confidence - Zero

Sound like you hoping that the next change will fix your putting? This doesn’t have to be you.

We’ve all missed short putts during our warm up, but seemingly attribute it to “it’s early” or “it’s just warm up.” In fact, it might not even be your stroke that is shattering your confidence. Or your speed. Or your aim...

It’s the first thing you need to do before you hit a putt. (Hint: You do it to a book)

Read it.

Poll question! How many of you take the time to read the green when hitting short putts? Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?


And then you start sliding down that slippery slope... You might remember this recent Instagram clip that introduced this idea. It showed us how much a 1% change in slope can change the total break. Check it out in case you missed it.

Slope is one of the Key Concepts that determines how much a putt breaks. If the ground is tilted more, the putt will break more. And that can yield drastically different results. So the first question:

How does the slope change?

Everyone Has an Angle

Let’s take a look at what happens to the slope as you make your way around a cup. For our example, assume the surface is planar. This is a flat, but tilted surface like a pizza box held slightly crooked in your hand.

Now shifting to the overhead view, we’ll treat the cup like the middle of a clock face. Straight up the hill is at 6 o’clock and straight down the hill is at 12 o’clock. If we were to deviate from those positions, let’s say from 6 o’clock to 4 o’clock, we are changing the angle to the cup.