You are faced with a 50 footer and must climb in two to win the club championship. What thoughts go through your mind? Are you slowing it down and trying to keep it a little short? Do you run past it a bit to make sure you at least give it a try? Are you actually thinking of making it or leaving it within a 3 foot circle?
There are seriously many important decisions that need to be made here, much less to get the right reading on the putt and deal with your nerves. Depending on what you were taught, what you read or saw on TV, or what your own personal experience with long wells was, you may already have your own rule by which to play.
Tough decisions are made on the green
The decision to go for it or let it lie actually lies mostly in the current situation. If you’re in a tournament and it’s the 18th hole and to win you have to sink it, well then you absolutely have to go for it. If, on the other hand, a 3 putt will put you off the run, then you should leave it to tap into distance. A skilled player believes I will analyze the situation, take note of where they are positioned with the field, weigh the consequences and make a very calculated decision.
I doubt there is hardly a golfer reading this article who has not yet heard of the infamous “3-foot circle”. The reason why the 3-foot circle has become such a major focus area in golf education is that it has been discovered from this distance that professionals make the vast majority of their putts; 92%.
With that kind of information, all golfers from top beginners to tour professionals should definitely pay attention. Could it be a little overestimated? Well, the stats prove to be important, but according to Jay Delsing, a skilled putter and PGA Tour / Champions Tour player becomes too focused on the 3-foot circle and actually loses sight of them to make the shot. Jay, like many big putters, tries to make every pit they see. So you should not? My answer is yes. You can have it both ways. You can try to make it, but roll it at such good speed that if you do not make it, you still have a tap.
Be properly prepared so that the worst case scenario is a tap
So, what are the steps you need to take to make sure you leave a gym?
STEP 1. Start reading the putt before even stepping foot on the green. Studying the landscape and surroundings of the green can sometimes give you a better idea of what the ball is going to do than stand right over it. Look for water, lakes, rivers, streams, etc. to which the land may be inclined. Look for hills and mountains from which it may slant away. By the time you get to your ball, you should almost know what you’re going to do with the pit.
STEP 2. Read the putt by covering all bases; view it from 360 degrees. One of the biggest mistakes players make on the greens is to chase it down and just look at the holding from behind their ball. A quick 30-second walk around the ball can help you feel the breaking of the pit. Pay attention to your feet and try to feel when going uphill or downhill. Also study the pressure on your feet. Whichever one feels the most pressure is probably the lowest of your feet, so you can get a good read on sidewalk breaks left or right. Make sure you take a quick squat at the back of the hole as you will get a better read from there 9 times out of 10.
STEP 3. Maintain a solid pre-putt routine. Your pre-shot routine is just as physical as mental. After going through your green routine through your reading, make sure you take your workouts the same way and sit on the ball the same way each time. The fewer variables the better, especially when you are under pressure.
STEP 4. Make realistic practice strokes while constantly looking up at the hole. Another common mistake is not being aware of what you are doing with your workouts. What many people do not realize is that their training stroke is 4 inches long when they go for a 50 footer. Or maybe it’s the opposite and their practice stroke is a foot long for a 2-foot hold. Awareness is the key here. Make sure your workout is a rehearsal for the stroke you plan to make. This means that the length of the stroke and the amount of force you apply should be appropriate for the blow you are facing.
You’re not sure if you should leave a long well or go for it.
Make a calculated decision about where you stand with the field, what your strengths are and what previous experience has taught you. Only you know your game, your mind and your nerves. Make every effort to follow 4 important steps:
- Start reading the putt before you even set foot on the green
- Read the well by covering all bases; view it from 360 degrees
- Maintain a solid pre-putt routine
- Make realistic practice shots while constantly looking up the hole
After doing these steps, you should be able to confidently try to hole the pit, but even if you do not, you have at least tried and you will leave yourself a simple tap.