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Speed Control

Speed Control refers to controlling the distance of your putts on the green. The length of the stroke, the weight of the putter, the weight of a player's arms, the centeredness of the strike and the amount of power or force applied all factor into how far the ball will roll.

Speed Control Drills

Speed Control Tips

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  • Ball Position Affects Rise

    According to the SAM Putt Lab stats you want your putter to have a 4 degree rise coming through the ball to get an ideal roll. This is why having your ball position forward of the bottom of your arc is so important. A solid ball position and neutral set up will help you to achieve the perfect rise angle.

  • Stay Smooth

    Always swing smooth. Remember with more speed the ball will pop up higher. It's important to not jump at the ball, but rather have your acceleration slowly building on the way down so it maximizes at impact. When you jump at the ball from the top you will accelerate there and then decelerate into the ball. This will make the flight of the ball come out low.

  • Sudden Acceleration Throws Off Consistency

    Keep the back swing and forward swing as one movement to control distance. Any independent movements or sudden acceleration will make speed control very inconsistent. For this reason it is important to let your big muscles (back, shoulders, abdominals) control the stroke. Getting the little muscles of your wrists and hands too involved makes it hard to keep the stroke smooth.

  • Play it Forward for Optimum Spin

    Play the ball forward of the center of your stance. This will help control spin which in turn will result in more consistent distance. If you are varying where you play the ball in your stance you will be imparting backspin on some putts and top spin on others. Top spin is ideal. With backspin, the ball may skid at first slowing the initial velocity and overall, you will not get that good accelerating roll to the hole.

  • 3 Putts Are More Common on Downhill Putts

    Practice downhill putts more than uphill. 3 putts happen more often when the first putt is downhill rather than uphill. This is because it can be so difficult to control the speed. By practicing the length of your backstroke on downhill putts on the practice green you will be better able to monitor it on the course.

  • Use One Hand For Feel

    Putt with one hand to get feel. Many pros use this drill to try to gain more feel and hand eye coordination. More commonly, they use the rear hand. Using the rear hand can also give you a feel for releasing the putter face which will prevent pushes. This will help increase accuracy on short putts.

  • Your Rear Side Applies the Power

    Putt with right hand or rear hand only. The theory here is that it is the rear side that applies the power. In your full swing your left side pulls and your right side pushes (if you are right handed). So if you can develop feel or touch with your right hand only, your distance control will become much more accurate.

  • Reading the Green Correctly is as Important as Picking the Right Speed

    Read for speed. Getting the read right is just as important as getting the speed correct. Consider an up hill right to left breaking putt. If you under read the break it could cause your ball to pick up speed and roll too far. The opposite is true for over reading. If you play it too high, the ball can slow up leaving the putt short.

  • Change Your Backswing to Change Your Distance

    To control distance you can either change the length of your back swing or change the amount of power or "oomf" you put into the putt. I believe varying your back swing length is the easier and a better way to go. Experiment with different back swing lengths and see how far back you need to swing the putter for varying distances.

  • Accelerate to Impact

    To hit solid putts and control distance make sure you keep accelerating consistently to impact. It should be a constant acceleration, not a sudden acceleration. Sudden bursts of energy are going to make distance control nearly impossible. Your swing should feel like an even pendulum accelerating just a bit to the ball.

  • The Bigger Your Grip, The Less Wristy You Will Be

    Try a fat grip. If you are having major troubles with speed control, chances are your hands and wrists may be too involved. When the little muscles are over active, it's hard to be consistent. You could try to wrap your grip with tennis grip tape to fatten it up or purchase a new grip altogether like the super fat one that you may have seen K.J. Choi use. The bigger the grip and the more you have to palm it and the stiffer your wrists will be.

  • Fringe Putting Builds Touch

    Try fringe putting. Grab 1 -3 balls and throw them down on the green to begin putting to the fringe. Putt to points all around the green, both long and short, to work on your speed without the pressure of having to hole the putt. Work on uphill, downhill and sidehill putts as well. Eliminating the cup can help you to keep your focus on distance control.

  • If Your Tempo Varies, Your Distances Will Vary

    Use a metronome for consistency with touch. The average tempo with professionals is 84 beats per minute. Buy a portable metronome and take it out on the green with you set at 84 bpm. On the first beat take the putter back and on the second beat impact the ball. This will build consistency with your touch. This may not be the tempo for you so experiment making it slower and faster until you find what is comfortable. If your tempo is changing from putt to putt you will be varying the amount of pressure you put into the ball as well sending it inconsistent distances.

  • Monitor Backwing Length to Control Distance

    When chipping, let the length of your back stroke help control your distance. You can always switch clubs and go down in loft to get more roll out of the shot, but within that you still need to be able to control the length of the pendulum motion. A larger pendulum is going to send the ball further just as it does when you are putting.

  • Play Your Ball Forward

    When setting up to putt ,play your ball just forward of your sternum. Check in front of a mirror to make sure you've got it right. Playing a ball back in your stance will make you hit down on the putt. This can cause the ball to bounce. When you position it forward of center you catch it on the up swing and get a smooth roll.

  • Don't Stop Your Follow Through

    When working on putting length, let your follow through be a bit longer than your back swing. This will keep you from decelerating or quitting on the putts resulting in putts that are left short of the hole. It will also prevent you from the opposite. Stopping too short on the follow through can be a result of getting too choppy or handsy (not letting your shoulders and big muscles control the stroke). This can cause the club head to over accelerate sending the ball too far.

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