How to Stop Low-Side Misses

By Steve Silverman

Putting may be the part of golf that is most difficult to master. While you may reach and then exceed various plateaus when it comes to putting, there is always something new to learn. One of the key issues is missing putts below the hole. Golfers who tend to miss on the low side may not putt the ball hard enough. Other factors could also be involved.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging
Step 1
Learn how to read the greens but don't study them too much. Many golfers stand over or behind their putts for more than 30 seconds as they consider factors such as green slope, wind, temperature, past history and their score in the current match. All of these factors matter, but what matters most is the stroke you put on the ball. Read the slope, walk up to your ball, take one practice swing and hit it.
Step 2
Putt the ball uphill if you see you have a slope to negotiate to get the ball to the hole. You can't putt the ball straight in these conditions because if you hit the ball hard enough to get to the hole, it will undoubtedly bounce over it. The ball needs to get to the hole at a speed that will allow it to drop in the hole.
Step 3
Read the green and see where the slope begins to have its biggest impact. Make sure your ball will not slide below the hole. Tell yourself that if you are going to miss, you will at least get it to the high side of the hole and pass it. Hitting it below the hole means you are not hitting it hard enough, and you need to strike the ball with a firmer stroke and a significant follow-through.
Step 4
Watch how your playing partner played their putt. If he is putting from a similar position and plays a break at 10 feet and the ball still goes below the hole, then you should play the break at 12 feet or longer. This is called "going to school" on a playing partner's putt.
Step 5
Go to the practice green before you start your round and learn how the greens are playing. Are they fast or slow? Do they have significant breaks? Work out the particulars and then fine-tune your stroke as best you can so you putt precisely once your round begins.

Tips & Warnings

Practice putting at home when you are away from the golf course.

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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