It is no secret that there are some shots in golf that are more difficult than others. A long putt is one; a sloped putt is another. When you combine the two, well, you often have a big challenge that results in a three-putt or worse!
To suggest that mastering long, sloped putts is easy would be misleading and false. These putts are difficult, even for the pros. But you are not defenseless. Here are some handy tips to keep in mind when you are faced with these monster putts.
The Steep Sloping Putt
A steeply sloped putt, whether it is uphill or downhill, requires that you concentrate on the speed of the ball more so than the line. This does not mean you can ignore the line, but if the speed is off, line will not matter very much.
A good tip is to first determine how much speed the ball will need to get up or down the slope and then concentrate on the line. For severely sloped putts, consider two-putting as a very viable option.
The Straight Uphill Long Putt
Because you have a long distance from ball to cup, it is, again, vital that you concentrate on hitting the ball hard enough to get it up the hill and to the hole.
With this type of putt, do not be afraid to hit the ball firmly. Remember, it is better to have the ball go past the hole than it is to have it die halfway up and then roll back down to your feet.
The Straight Downhill Long Putt
Getting the right speed on these putts is critical. As you do your putt preview, determine the grain of the grass. Are you putting with the grain, against it, or sideways? This information is often vital in determining how hard to hit the ball.
For extremely long downhill putts, try to find a spot between you and the hole that is on-line with your intended putt. Aim at this spot, and let the slope carry the ball to the hole.
Long Putting Across Slope
These putts are tricky. Visualize the ball running along the line and the slope in such a way that the ball falls into the hole from the topside of the cup, at almost 90 degrees.
If you aim for dead centre of the cup, you will most likely miss the hole on the low side.
Depending on the distance to the hole and the degree of slope, it is often wise to consider two-putting. This means getting the ball to within a reasonable distance to the hole for a easier putt in.
One common mistake is to hit the ball too softly. This only results in having to make this same difficult shot again, only from less distance.
The Long Combination Putt
These are putts that are long, cut across a slope, and are either uphill or downhill to boot. They can be nightmares.
A good tip for these putts is to always remember that the slower the ball is moving, the more it will break. A ball that is going downhill will typically break more than one that is going uphill. Keep that in mind as you determine your line on this type of putt.
The good news about long, sloped putts is that the more you practice them, the better you will become at making them. Spend time on the practice green learning to read the grain and the slopes and especially learning distance control with your putter.
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