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Trust your feels

Are you bad at reading putts? Jordan Spieth's coach has some great advice

January 20, 2023
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Kevin C. Cox

The image is one we've seen time and time and time again. A player, on the green, crouches down behind his ball and reads the putt. Once they settle on how they think the ball is going to break, they step into their putt.

But for most golfers, the story doesn't end there. Once they stand over the ball, suddenly the putt looks different than when they were sizing up the shot from behind the ball. Some doubt starts to creep in. Which read should you trust? It's not a great mindset to be when you're over the ball, about to hit a putt. And it's a problem I find myself wondering about often, and one that no doubt other golfers do, too.

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Andy Lyons

But this week, Golf Digest Top 50 Teacher Cameron McCormick, longtime coach of Jordan Spieth, shared a thread about exactly this earlier this week.

As for what he recommends, McCormick makes a really interesting point.

Trust what you see over the ball

McCormick says that even though standing behind the hole may give you a clear look at the line, he says that golfers have gotten so much feedback from all the putts they've hit over the course of their lifetime, that can help give them an instinctual sense for how the putt is going to break. Reading the putt from behind the ball is useful, of course, but when the chips are down, McCormick trusts what he feels while he's standing over the putt itself.

"I find myself missing very few putts on the low side of the hole," he writes in his final tweet of the thread. "Almost all of my putts are hit with softer pace which effectively gives me the entire hole width to use. I make more putts and my touch is great."