Managing hard left-breaking putts

By • Category: Putting

Many new and amateur players still lose a lot of strokes on hard left-breaking putts, especially right-handed palm putters.  I used to be the same way, and it really got in my head.  If I had a 40-foot left 9 putt, I was pessimistic before I even attempted it, because I knew I’d miss it on the low side, not being able to get it out far enough.

So why does that seem to happen to so many of us?  For right-handers, it’s naturally easier to hit across your body — that’s why right-breaking putts feel more natural.  For left-breakers, you have to move your whole body left and try to square up to hit towards 3 — it’s just more uncomfortable.

But the biggest reason you miss these putts to the left is the anatomy of the trackball.  A while back I wrote how shots out to 3 may not be read properly by the machine, and some tips to overcome that.  Because of how the rollers are structured, you may feel the ball “jump” or not come off the club fast and smooth, causing you to miss left.

So while you are trying to ram the ball harder to keep velocity, you may actually be causing the machine to read the trajectory improperly.  A smoother stroke is likely to be read more accurately, but it also won’t feel right.

Instead, why not try thumb-putting with these looks?  That’s been my solution, and I’ve saved a lot of strokes in the process.  Thumb putting almost guarantees a nice, smooth stroke that will be read accurately, and you can also get plenty of velocity on the putt with just a nice firm release out to 3.  Yes, this will take some practice, and you might drop a couple strokes up front while you are learning just how much to the right to hit these thumb shots, but over time you will come out ahead!

So if these long, left-breaking putts are the bane of your short game, consider thumb-putting instead.  It will feel good to finally hit firm shots that stay out to the right far enough to drop into the hole!

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is a Golden Tee addict from Chicago, IL, thirsty for tips and tricks!
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