Golf Talk With Greg Holman – #28

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We’re going to talk about putting again today as I lead a discussion on reading the greens, but first a recap of this past weekends stop on the PGA Tour in Charlotte, North Carolina.

There’s nothing like a long straight drive. Few players hit the ball farther than Rory Mcllroy, pound for pound he’s the longest driver on tour and when he hits it straight he’s hard to beat. But he and Bryson DeChambeau are just average by tour standards with their wedge. Rory came into the Wells Fargo Championship without a win since 2019, so he isn’t expected to win these days, but he hit a lot of fairways and recorded the longest drive of the tournament on Sunday. He had 78 yards left on a 458 yard par 4. Mcllroy also avoided the big number in the tournament and shot 3 under 68 in the final round to overtake his playing partner Keith Mitchell who fired a 1 over 72. Mitchell finished 2 shots back with Viktor Hovland. Abraham Ancer made a run on Sunday with a 66 to lose by 1 to Mcllroy. Mcllroy came up with some great lag putting over the undulating greens at Coil Hollow to close out the victory, and that brings us to our segment on putting.

Speed is just as important as line on putts over 30 feet and especially on putts twice that distance and more. I can’t remember ever making a 30 foot putt when I was trying to make it. They go in when you least expect it. My dad, who was just an average player, gave me a good tip on putting when I was young and I’ve never forgotten it. “Put it in the bucket son.” By that he meant leave your ball inside the size of a gallon pail. That way it’s a sure 2 putt. I grew up on greens that were fairly flat so if I could figure out the speed I could make my share of 30 footers.

Then when I was in High School we joined the Country Club and I learned about playing big sweeping breaks. And here’s a tip on playing breaks on a putt. Slow greens will not break as much as fast greens. Growing up on slow greens, I learned to take the break out and hit my putts fairly firmly, knowing if I missed they wouldn’t roll out leaving me a knee knocker. But you have to be a little more careful on fast greens. The quickest greens I ever played were in the state amateur at Wolf Creek Country Club in Kansas City. Jim Holtgrieve beat Payne Stewart in the final match that year. The downhill putts were so quick I had to hit my putts off the toe of the putter to deaden the roll of the ball. Try that next time you have a straight downhill down grain putt of more than 6 feet. Gravity will do most of the work.

Hit ’em straight!