The severely sloping surfaces at Augusta National can be made so quick that Gary McCord the CBS analyst was banned for saying, ‘they don’t cut the greens here at Augusta, they use bikini wax!’
It would be fair to suggest therefore that whoever follows Bubba Watson into the sleeves of the most famous piece of clothing in the sport, will have putted extraordinarily well and have taken very few three putts.
Given that three putting is generally caused by not getting the first putt close enough, the ability to putt well from long distance is essential.
Follow this simple procedure:
- Understand that speed is far more important than line
- Have a look at the general direction the putt will take from behind the ball but don’t get too bogged down with trying to ‘read’ it perfectly
- If there are some obvious slopes, split the putt into thirds and only really give your attention to the final third
- Like reading a book, which we angle towards us, it is important to look at the putt from the low side so that you see the ball coming towards you
- Make your practice strokes while looking at the hole and don’t worry about controlling the length of your back swing, simply allow your natural tempo and rhythm to develop and trust your eyes. After all, when we throw or kick a ball we are not thinking about how far back or through our leg or arm should swing
- Once settled over the ball, have one long look at the hole, revert your eyes back to the ball and hit it
A great practice drill to increase your confidence and trust in your distance judgement, is to follow this routine but close your eyes before and during the stroke.
You’ll be amazed at how good your control can be if you allow your natural feel to take effect.