Uphill, Downhill and Sidehill Putts

By Marc Jenkins

Putting is a key skill in a golfer's game. It can mean the difference between someone shooting a three-under par and a three-over par. The most difficult putts to pull off have to be those which are on hills or slopes and not just flat green surfaces. There are three separate hill putts which a golfer must master--uphill, downhill and side hill. Each putt requires a different approach as outlined below.

Uphill Putts

Uphill putts may just be the easiest of the three different putts to successfully execute and is clearly the most welcomed. There is more room for error when it comes to the uphill putts than any of the three, simply because a golfer can stroke the ball with much more force and strength. Two things that are worth remembering on uphill putts are to focus and aim for the back of the hole and not the front. A golfer should also attempt to hit the ball 17 inches past the cup--this will allow the ball to actually be closer to the cup because of the inclination of the hole. There is no need to worry about stroking the ball past the cup on an uphill putt, so take a deep breath and hit the ball with some power.

Downhill Putts

Executing downhill putts has a much greater degree of difficulty than knocking in an uphill version. For starters, there is very little margin for error and many golfers tend to over hit the ball in these situations. The trick to executing a successful downhill putt is to stroke the ball with less strength than it appears you need to. For instance, if the cup is 20 yards away from you, then you should only strike the ball as if it were 10 yards away. The downhill nature of the shot will allow the ball to travel more with less force and still have a good chance at dropping in the cup. The gravity of the downhill putt takes the place of the force that wasn't placed on the shot.

Side Hill Putts

Side hill putts are by far the most difficult of the three hill putts. They don't always have an exact way to approach them and definitely vary in the amount of ball break on a putt. Many side hill putts get lost to the downhill side of the hole, the key to avoiding this is all in your posture and stance prior to and while putting the ball. If the ball is above your feet, lean away from the ball with the slope and aim to the right (for right-handers, left-handers aim left). If the ball is below your feet then lean towards the ball with the slope and aim to the left (for right-handers, lefthanders aim right). The amount of force or power that you use on these putts depends completely on the actual slope of the side hill. You should remember sidehill lies are almost everywhere on the putting greens. If a golfer focuses on his posture and the amount of strength used on these side hill putts, then he should be able to sink more than not.

About The Author

Marc Jenkins has been writing since 2008. His work has appeared in numerous online publications, and he is also co-host of the Double Play Sports Hour, a sports talk radio show on WBCR 1090AM in New York City. He studied English and mass communications at Virginia State University.

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