How to Stroke a Downhill Putt

By Steve Silverman

Learning how to putt is largely a matter of confidence. The putting stroke is basically the most simple swing in the game. However, the subtleties of speed and break and other factors impact putting dramatically. This is particularly true of a downhill putt, which will go much faster than an uphill putt, and a slight bump or break will send the ball on an altered course.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Challenging
Step 1
Assess the green as you are walking up the fairway toward your ball. Is it smooth or bumpy? Will the ball break to the left or right? Is it basically straight, or does it curve? Looking at the green while walking in the fairway can give you the big picture of the type of putt you are facing.
Step 2
Stand 10 feet behind your ball on the green, and squat down so you can get a better look at the path your ball will follow. You need to be able to spot whether the green will make your ball curve to the right or left. If you see a ridge on your right, your ball will curve to the left. If you see it on your left, your ball will curve to your right.
Step 3
Watch your playing partner's putt on that particular green. If your ball is inside of his, he will have the opportunity to putt first. This is a great help to you because you will see the speed of the putt that you have to hit. If he barely taps the ball and it goes flying, you know you do not have to hit your downhill putt very hard. This is called "going to school" off your opponent's shot.
Step 4
Walk up to your ball and take one practice stroke before hitting it. Do not stand over your putt a long time. You have studied your putt while walking up the fairway and when you got to the green. No need to spend extra time studying the situation. Do not stand over your putt for more than 10 seconds after the practice stroke, or you could develop anxiety before you hit the ball.
Step 5
Take a short backswing because the downhill putt moves quickly and it does not require a lot of power. Take your putter back about 6 inches, and then bring it forward. After your make contact, your follow-through should conclude about 6 inches after you make contact. You are taking a short stroke, but do not jab at the ball. You must have a follow-through that is as far as your backswing to help you maintain a precise stroke.

Tips & Warnings

Remember to watch your playing partner's downhill putt. It will offer valuable information that will help you with your putt. Practice putting before every round of golf. Hitting 10 to 15 putts before the round could make you feel much better as you get ready to take an important putt.
Remember to watch your playing partner's downhill putt. It will offer valuable information that will help you with your putt.
Practice putting before every round of golf. Hitting 10 to 15 putts before the round could make you feel much better as you get ready to take an important putt.

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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