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1 > Golf Putting Tips About Wet Greens Summary: Wet greens are slower and golfers have to hit the ball harder to reach the same distance. See how to adjust your aim point if the green is wet and your next putt breaks. Caution! Golf putts, when the green is wet, are slower than when it is not. It s common sense. Some of us also know that it breaks less. If this is enough to you, don t waste your time reading the rest of this article. If you would like to discover something better than this qualitative approach keep reading and I ll try not to disappoint you and provide some insightful tips to improve your golf putting. Let s start with an example. Once, you were on that green, that is flat and level, facing a 5 yds putt. Your feel on the green is well known among your golf buddies. You read the putt, made the required adjustments, took your stance, hit the ball and, as usual, it died just in the hole.... A few days later, you were on the same green facing exactly the same putt but it was a rainy day and the green was really wet. You knew that under these circumstances the greens are very slow and you took the decision to double the stroke intensity. This made the ball speed at start double compared with the previous scenario and the result was wonderful. It started moving very fast but friction was greater this time and it ended again dying just in the hole. The only difference was noticed by one of your buddies that measured time spent by the ball in both putts. On the wet green, with double speed at start, the time to reach the hole was reduced by half. Was this information, gathered by your meticulous buddy, important in this case? NO! But we ll need to revert to this subject later because if it were a breaking putt this detail would make all the difference.

2 A) Let s start organising our thoughts about putting on wet greens that are flat and level. In this situation you have straight putts and you just need to discover how much will the water, on the green s surface, slow your putts. You can estimate it as a percentage. Let s see an example: You have a 10 ft putt and during your testing you found that you have to hit the ball as if it was a 12 ft putt. This roughly means that you have to hit the ball 20% harder. This can be made easily by moving, in your head, the hole 2 ft back. Of course this is not exact science but my motto is: it s better to have a rough estimate than not having any estimate at all. You can think of situations when you have to hit 30, 40, 50% harder, or even 100%, as in our first example. The technique is simple: address the ball, look to the hole, move it back in your mind by the desired amount, forget the rest and putt to that new target. You ll discover that your brain works wonders in these situations. B) Let s see what happens with breaking putts on sloping wet greens. The situation is really very different and it s easy to see why. Just remember our first example and the insightful remark of that guy that noticed that the ball, on the wet green, had to be hit twice as hard as in the normal green but only took half the time to reach the hole. To understand why this detail changes the entire situation let s check this video I produced and that is available in my site Now you know that when a ball moves on a sloping green there are 3 forces that influence ball s behaviour: a) Forward momentum, produced by the putter stroke, that makes the ball move forward. b) Friction, mainly a result of the contact between the ball and the grass, that continuously slows the ball till it stops. c) Gravity, which pulls the ball downwards and only depends on the ball weight and green slope.

3 The conclusion is simple: if gravity pulls the ball downwards and, in this example, it only works half the normal time period, the ball must break less than in normal circumstances. How much less is what remains to be seen. Beware of fast conclusions! This alert must be made because it would be tempting to say that if it works half the normal time period it would also break only one half. Wrong! Why? Because when gravity pulls an object downwards it produces an accelerated movement not one at constant speed. This causes the reduction of the break to be much more drastic than expected. In our example it was reduced to just one quarter of normal break. But you don t have to worry because I did all the math needed to give a few guidelines that are easy to keep in memory and ready to be used if needed. Here they are: > If you have to hit the ball 20% harder the break will be only 2/3 of the normal break > If you have to hit the ball 40% harder the break will be only 1/2 of the normal break > If you have to hit the ball 100% harder the break will be only 1/4 of the normal break Or, in other words: > Move the hole 20% back and consider only 2/3 (67%) of the normal break > Move the hole 40% back and consider only 1/2 (50%) of the normal break > Move the hole 100% back (double the distance) and consider only 1/4 (25%) of the normal break Perhaps there s one question crossing your mind: How to measure break in order to use these concepts? First consider the free fall line, the direction the water would take if you poured a lot of it in the hole till it overflows. Break, in this case, must be measured over that line. See the pictures for the 2nd and 3rd situations:

4 > In this image we drew the blue line of the normal putt and then imagined that the hole was 40% behind its real position (consider only one half of normal break). The new line would break less.

5 > In this image we also drew the blue line of the normal putt and then imagined that the hole was 100% further behind its real position (consider only one quarter of normal break). The new line would break much less. I hope this tip works with you as it does with me. But, in any case, getting feedback from you would be nice. Final note: While I was reviewing this article, TV was showing day 1 of the Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. After the first groups had already finished there was weather change and the rain started falling. Not heavy rain but enough to disturb. And I could notice that there was a lot of breaking putts missed on the upper side. I attributed that to the wet greens breaking less because, even for professionals, it is more usual to miss on the lower side. Marcel White (2012/07/23)

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