September 19, 2007

3 Keys: Break Up Long Putts

1. Dave Stockton taught me to divide long putts into three parts: The first part is the starting line, and break is minimal; the second is where the ball reaches the apex of its curve; and the third is when the ball is rolling the slowest so it breaks the most. I use this image on putts of more than, say, 30 feet.

__2.__Here I'm sizing up speed from the putt's midpoint (see above), on the low side of the line. I've already read the overall break from behind the ball. If I can get a feel for how fast the ball should be rolling at this point, I'll have a good idea of the overall pace. Making "air strokes" from this position helps me groove my feel.

3. Finally, I walk behind the ball and make a practice stroke standing perpendicular to my starting line. Looking down the line helps me visualize the pace. Don't make the common mistake of getting caught up in break and ignoring speed. I imagine a ball sitting at the apex, and I try to putt through that ball with good pace.

Sorenstam writes instruction articles only for Golf Digest Publications. View more tips from Annika.