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An Attempt to Hit the White Ball Straight

Category: Putting (page 1 of 2)

Bentgrass Greens – Pure and Fast

A few years ago I published an article comparing bentgrass to bermudagrass greens. I had just walked off a course in which the bermudagrass was young and rock hard. It was the complete opposite of bentgrass greens. Suffice it to saw, I was not happy. I vowed that bentgrass was far superior to bermudagrass. So, what makes bentgrass greens so great?

If you are like me, you are watching the 2019 President’s Cup at Royal Melbourne and are seeing the Americans struggle with their putting. The speed is a challenge; even for the guys that have been playing throughout the fall in Florida and southern California. You don’t get to practice on greens like those at the President’s Cup. Royal Melbourne has a unique strain of bentgrass known as Sutton’s Mix. Like any private county club with a budget, bentgrass greens and a competent superintendent, you can expect the putting to be fast. Faster than fast.

When I first joined the Hasentree Club in Wake Forest, North Carolina the greens were bentgrass. During tournaments, members would literally walk off greens and go home because they were so fast. On hole #7, a par 5 with a semi false front, there were golfers taking scores in the double digits regularly. One year, three people walked off hole #7 and quit during the club championship.

For the first five years of my “golf career” I had to learn how to putt on super fast bentgrass greens. Think of putting on a linoleum floor. As one of the announcers said during the Presidents Cup, putting from just off the green is like putting from the top of a car, onto the windshield and trying to stop it on the hood. I know that feeling all too well.

In the last several years, most private country clubs in the south have gone to Champion Bermudagrass as it is much easier to maintain during the hot summer months. As much as anyone loves to putt on the pure and fast bentgrass greens, they can be eaten up during the heat of the summer. The golf course superintendents are fighting the battle of keeping the greens watered and soft while also allowing members to play. There are many times you will hit a chip shot onto the green and a huge chunk of the green will go flying.

After several summers of losing greens, Hasentree went to Champion Bermudagrass. Hope Valley, Old Chatham, Governor’s Club and many other private clubs in the Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill area have also gone to Bermudagrass. There are still a handful of courses in the Triangle fighting the bentgrass battle. Two that come to mind are Wakefield Plantation and Treyburn. UNC Finley is a public course that still has bentgrass. That said, this is not the pure bentgrass you see in places like Cashiers/Highlands and near Boone. Courses like Elk River, Grandfather Mountain, Linville Country Club, Cullasaja, Wade Hampton, Wildcat Cliffs and Mountaintop all have pure bentgrass that is phenomenal.

You may have heard of this course called Augusta National. Yeah, they still have bentgrass too. But, they do not have member play during the heat of the summer and they let the bentgrass grow after The Masters. Interestingly, the architect that designer Augusta National, Alister Mackenzie, also designed Royal Melbourne. The challenge of his courses are not tight driving holes or the distance of the course. The challenge is the approach shots to very undulated greens.

You can be on the green at Augusta National or Royal Melbourne and have to lay up putt and hope to two putt. This is not common for the average amateur. Imagine being on the green and having to lay up with a putt. It’s like a toughie tournament but every single time you play.

If you get the opportunity to play in Cashiers/Highlands, Boone or in the mountains of Georgia, North Carolina or Virginia, go enjoy some of the most pure and fast bentgrass greens in the world. If you happen to catch one of these private country clubs near their club championship or member guest, you can expect to three putt half a dozen times, or more.

Why Are My Putts Always Short and Below the Hole?

Missing on the “amateur side” is common for, well, amateurs. When putting, the better putters always miss on the high side and miss long. This is especially important on bentgrass greens that break quite a bit. On championship bermuda, putts generally go straight and hold up with the grain, but fast championship bermuda greens can leave many amateurs on the low side of the hole.

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Does the Matt Kuchar Forearm Anchoring Putting Stroke Work?

Well, obviously it does for him. Many amateur golfers are trying to figure out not that the anchor putter has been banned. Why isn’t Matt Kuchar’s anchor banned? Well, Kuchar anchors the putter on his forearm and not on his chest or stomach. This might be a remedy to your problems if it is difficult to keep your hands steady throughout the entire putting motion.

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How to Be the Best Putter at Your Country Club

Putting is the hardest part of golf; don’t let anyone tell you differently. The only way you are going to break 90, 80 or even 70 is to avoid three and four putts. If your greens are rolling at a 12 or faster you know just how many strokes you can accumulate on the greens. On the flip side of that, if you are a great putter, you know how much of a stress reliever it is to stand on the green knowing you will two putt or less. Here are some tips on becoming the best putter at your country club.

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Why Does Lexi Thompson Putt with a Glove On?

Over the last few months more and more people have tuned into women’s golf on the LPGA Tour. Part of this is because of Lexi Thompson. Not only can she play golf, she is athletic and gorgeous. She drives the ball over 300 yards and plays a game that even most amateur men can only dream about. The biggest problem with Lexi’s game at the moment is putting. She even went to an oversized putter that looks quite ridiculous.

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Short Back Stroke and Accelerate Through Putting

Over the last two years I have worked to make myself an above average putter. That said, there are still a few pressure putts I missed in 2015 that drive me crazy. To change that, I adjusted my putter with a cork grip and shortened by back stroke, especially on the shorter putts. This has made a world of difference as I am one now the best putter I have ever been. In fact, if you put me over a pressure putt less than 20 feet it is going to be close to the hole or in. Here is why:

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Putting Into or With the Grain

When putting on most greens it is important to remember that the rough side of the hole or cup is where the ball will break. Here is a quick way to think about it. The rough side of the cup is the catcher’s mitt. This is where the ball is going to go. The way in which the grain is growing will greatly determine the speed of your putts. Here is a picture to illustrate just that:

putting-bermudagrass-rough-side-cup

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How to Putt on Bentgrass Greens Feeling Break with Your Feet

Putting on bentgrass greens has become second nature to me. In fact, I am hitting more and more birdie putts between six and 12 feet every single round. Two putting is common and a three putt is very rare. One of the ways in which I have improved my putting skills on bentgrass greens is to feel the putt with my feet. Rather than looking at the line to the hole, the first thing I do is stand over the putt and determine if the putt is above my feet or below my feet. Here is the putter I use which has helped me win my club championship and many tournaments. This is very important and here’s why.

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Why Don’t Putts Break on Bermudagrass Greens vs Bentgrass?

I consistently play three courses in the NC Triangle – Hasentree, Chapel Ridge and Heritage. Both Hasentree and Chapel Ridge have bentgrass greens and I absolutely love them. When they are soft you can spin the ball back to the hole and the putts take every single break you see. The opposite is true of Heritage. Last summer (2014), Heritage went to championship bermudagrass and that course has never been the same. The greens are rock hard and the putts don’t break at all.

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Aaron Rodgers Almost Leaves a 3 Inch Tap in Putt Short

Now this is talent:

I am not sure how good of a golfer Aaron Rodgers is but this was a bad putt. With his athleticism and money I would imagine he is close to a scratch golfer but he may need to work on those tap ins. I have no room to talk as I am certain I have missed a handful of short putts such as that one.

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