Those Pesky Left-to-Right Breaking Putts

Bryan Gathright President, Southern Golf Properties One of Golf Magazine’s Top 100 TeachersA golfer’s vision of the target line on left-to-right breaking putts is the single most important factor in his or her ability to make putts. Almost all right-handed golfers tend to agree that left-to-right breaking putts seem to be more difficult to make than right-to-left breaking putts. Should these putts prove to be difficult for you, I offer the following simple solution.

First, simply observe where your vision focuses on your last glance from the golf ball toward the direction of the hole just prior to beginning the stroke. The hole draws the attention of most players’ eyes as they set up to make their final observation toward their intended starting direction of the ball, however, the hole is where you want the ball to end--not begin.

By looking at the hole, you are unable to start the ball on your intended path or starting line. Your eyes play an instrumental role in the direction of the stroke of the putter and the starting direction of the ball. As you turn your head toward your target line, your eyes see the hole much sooner due to the location of the hole being to the right or in front of your eye-line on a left-to-right breaking putt. A right-handed golfers eyes looking toward the target line of a right-to-left breaking putt will stay on the target line much longer due to the position of the hole being to the left or behind the eye-line of the golfer.

Try this simple routine to help you make more left-to-right putts: Begin behind the ball on a direct line with the ball and your intended starting direction of the putt. Pay careful attention to beginning on the starting line of the putt--not the direct line between your ball and the hole. Try to pick out a distinguishable spot on the high point of the break. Once you have found that distinguishable spot, extend that line to a point equidistant to the hole. In other words, your eyes will try to see a spot about the same distance as the hole, but to the left of it.

Next, walk into your setup staying on this line. As you get comfortable in your setup, check one or two times following the intended path of the roll of the ball, trying to visualize the ball dropping into the high-side of the hole.

Now your most critical step: Take one last slow look at your chosen spot to the left of the hole and simply roll your ball at your imaginary spot at the perfect speed.

You will soon notice that even your misses will more often be on the high side of the break, versus those that finish short and to the right of the hole. As you will see, by keeping your eyes focused on this intended starting line, those “difficult” left-to-right putts may now actually become your favorite.


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