The difference between a good round of golf and a great one (or a truly awful round and an average round) is almost always a matter of feet…or even inches.
The approach shot that just missed clearing the water, the drive that landed OB by just a couple of feet, and those missed putts that just burned the edges all day long—they kill you.
If you want to really become a better golfer and lower your handicap there is only one true way to do so.
Make more putts.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a 25-handicap or a 5-handicap. To improve your score, you’ve got to improve your game with the flatstick. If you changed nothing about your swing, but eliminated half of your 3-putts the next time you played, it would be an easy way to shave strokes off your score.
To really improve your putting, let’s focus on the distance from 6-to-12 feet. Consistently converting putts from this range is paramount. Why this range? Well,
Why this range?
Your better than average player and certainly your touring pro is going to make most of their putts from 4 feet and in. However, once you get a little farther out from the hole, the difference is really pronounced. This is the range that separates the pack.
But there’s a secret that these pros are trying to tap into:
PGA teaching pro Todd Kolb has spent a lot of time working with professional golfers to figure out what makes some so deadly from that 6-12 foot range and why others are always just a little off. Using his Quintic Ball Roll system, Todd was able to easily determine the main factor which made all the difference between making and missing from this distance.
The key…the face degree angle.
It wasn’t proper speed or being able to read the proper break, it was the angle of attack of their putter. A putt that starts off-line is going to stay off-line and the further you move away from the hole, the greater off target it’s going to be.
One of Todd’s students had a tendency to miss her putts to the left. Not by much, but enough.
From a distance of 8-feet her face angle varied greatly. Sometimes it was over a whole degree closed, sometimes a little less but other times it was over a degree and a half closed. From four feet you might get away with having your open or closed face angle vary like that, but from eight feet? No chance.
Ideally, your face angle would be under 1.0 degrees. The really great putters from that 6-12 feet distance will have a face angle around 0.5 degrees. If you could consistently reduce your face angle from the 1.0-1.5 range to the 0.75-1.0 range, you will see yourself make a lot more putts. Those putts that used to burn the edges are now going to topple right in the center of the cup.
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Knowing what your face angle is and working to lower it even a 0.25 or 0.3 degrees is a game changer for your scoring.
I’m always amazed at golfers who will spend an hour bashing drives on the practice range and then drop a couple of balls on the putting green and half-heartedly putt for 5 minutes while waiting to tee off. Then four hours later they’re complaining how well they hit the ball but couldn’t make anything from inside 10 feet. Drive for show, putt for dough.
Golf is definitely a game of inches on the green and the difference between breaking 80 or 90 is razor thin. Now you know the secret to what separates the greats from the good and the good from the average. Lower your face angle and you will lower your score.
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