How to Plumb Bob in Golf

By Steve Silverman

Putting is perhaps the hardest area in golf to master. Learning how to hit a putt with the correct speed and determining how hard to hit an uphill putt or how softly to hit a downhill putt are factors that take time to learn. Learning how to plumb bob when reading greens can help a golfer's ability to read the green.


Difficulty: Moderate
Step 1
Eyeball your golf ball on the green as you walk up the fairway. You want to get a look at the big picture: how far your ball is from the flag stick, the contour of the green and how the wind is reacting around the putting surface.
Step 2
Get about six to eight feet behind your ball and bend down as if you were a catcher in baseball. You are looking for any breaks you can see so you can account for them when you take your practice stroke.
Step 3
Confirm your vision of the putt by plumb bobbing. To do this, stand about six to eight feet behind the ball and hold your putter straight up in the air. Look at it with your dominant eye (usually the right eye for right-handers or left eye for left-handers) and line up your ball and the flagstick. As you hold the club as straight as possible, determine on which side of the putting blade the hole lies:
- If the hole sits on the right side of the blade, your putt will break to the right.
- If it sits on the left side of the blade, your putt will break to the left.
Step 4
The putt may look straight, but plumb-bobbing lets the golfer know if there is a subtle break or not. Before you hit your putt, walk the length of your putt and back, looking for any dips, depressions or creases that may impact the way your ball rolls to the green.

Tips & Warnings

Trust your eyes when it comes to the plumb-bob technique. To the naked eye, you may have a hard time seeing the break, but if you see it when you plumb bob, you know it's there.
Take 15 minutes before your match to work your way around the practice green while using the plumb-bob technique.
Walk up to your ball after you plumb bob, take one practice swing and putt it. Golfers who take multiple practice swings and take 20 seconds or more to stand over their ball and contemplate the putt usually end up missing.

About The Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.

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