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Golf Instruction

The Downhill Slider

September 2011

1. MOVE THE HOLE

It's so easy for these putts to get away from you and roll six or eight feet past the cup. To avoid that, imagine the hole is closer to you, like two-thirds of the way down the line. You're trying to find the spot where you think the slope and gravity will take the ball the rest of the way. That's your new hole.

2. TAKE A LIGHT GRIP

Most golfers don't like these slippery putts, and that usually means they grip the club tighter. Problem is, nothing cuts off your feel quicker than a tight grip, so you have to be aware of your tension level.

3. GO IN SLOW MOTION

I've heard different ways of hitting the ball softly. One is to play it more off the toe of the putter, but that can make the head twist at impact and send the ball off line. Another is to choke way down, but that changes your feel. To soften the hit, just swing in slow motion. That'll give you the extra touch you need on these sliders.

Butch Harmon, a Golf Digest Teaching Professional, runs the Butch Harmon School of Golf at Rio Secco, in Henderson, Nev.

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