This is a tip for those who already putt from off the green or, at least, already considered doing it. So, don’t expect this article to explain how, or recommend when, to putt from off the green. For me the rule is simple: use your putter always you feel that the putter is the golf club that will provide the best result. Let me just add a small piece of advice: don’t forget to make some experiments from time to time because our golf skills change and without testing no one knows if something, that was impossible a few months ago, didn’t become feasible now, or vice versa.
Before explaining this new golf putting tip let me tell a few things about the putting process. First, for the sake of simplicity, I will divide our body in two parts: the brain and the rest. Putting is the golf chapter that involves the most our brain and the least the rest of our body.
For a solid and reliable putter stroke our lower body shouldn’t move at all and our wrists are not allowed to bend. Usually, only a few muscles in the player’s back will receive a mild call to action. The brain will perform all the rest.
Let’s see: after you read the green and decide if it is slow or fast and if your next putt is uphill or downhill, against the grain or not, affected by the wind or not, breaks or is straight, all the rest depends on your brain capacity to process all the information you gathered. It will reveal the aim point to let the player align, address the ball accordingly and make the pre-putt routine. And after a last look to the hole to allow some final adjustments the command to your muscles comes, the putter strikes the ball and it will start moving with the speed and direction your brain considered convenient to roughly reach the hole.
And why is this detail worth to be mentioned here? Because when you putt from off the green your brain is submitted to what we can call a cognitive dissonance, that is, an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously. You read the green carefully and provided all the information you gathered but when your brain starts processing it receives an alert: “there is a correction to be made and the ball must be hit harder than for the usual putts on the green”.
Poor brain! “Harder? What is this? How much harder?” These are the questions your brain will ask several times in a fraction of a second and that can ruin the decision process. Very often the results are not what you would like.
Here is my tip:
a) Make everything as if it was a normal putt on the green.
b) See what is the distance from your ball to the edge of the green and keep it in your memory.
c) Look for a spot behind the hole at roughly the same distance from it as the one you registered in memory. For instance, if your ball has to roll 2 yards to reach the green the spot you choose must be 2 yards behind the pin.
d) Address the ball and try not even looking at the hole. Just look at the spot you chose.
e) Keep telling yourself, that is, to your brain, that the ball must reach that spot.
f) Hit the ball as if you were on the green, control your curiosity and keep your head still. With some practice, talent and luck the ball will stop close to the hole or even in the hole.
(Note to image 1: The tee is just to show the distance to measure. Because this is a breaking putt, the ball, the tee and the pin are not aligned. )
(Note to image 2: Watching from behind the hole we can see that the distance tee-hole is roughly the same as the distance ball-tee.)
This is the basic configuration of the tip but you can make some refinements. For instance, if you play very often the same course and you know that the fringes around the greens usually show a low cut and are very fast, you may try only one half of the distance mentioned in b). Or double that distance if you always have to deal with slow fringes (tall grass) around the greens.
Spend some time training this tip and perhaps in a near future you’ll decide to use your putter in situations you never considered before.
P. S. If you decide to try this tip, please give me feedback here or in my site www.puttinglines.com because I always like to know if it worked for you as it worked for me and my friends.