RBC Heritage

Harbour Town Golf Links


Putt with a hybrid and you’ll finally stop leaving the ball short

February 13, 2019

Photo by Walter Iooss Jr.

Maybe you’ve gotten wise and are putting instead of chipping these little shots from just off the green. Great! The problem is, you’re probably using your putter. If you have only five or six feet of fringe to get through, the putter makes sense. But as you get farther out, putting with a hybrid is the better play.

“Through the fringe, bouncing beats rolling—less friction.”

Think about it: How often do you feel like you smash a putt from off the green and it still comes up short? That’s because when you use a putter, which has only a few degrees of loft, you roll the ball over all that grass between you and the green. That creates friction between the ball and the ground, taking energy off the shot. With a hybrid, which has about 20 degrees of loft, you bounce the ball through the fringe, producing less friction. It’s much easier to get to the hole. Simple physics.

The technique with the hybrid is the same as a normal putt. Take your putting grip choking down a few inches for control, play the ball in the middle of your stance, set your weight 50-50, and make a simple arms-and-shoulders stroke back and through. If the club still feels long, flex your wrists at address, standing up the shaft as much as feels comfortable. (Bonus: That will minimize wrist action to stabilize the stroke.)

One point of caution: The ball comes off the clubface hotter with a hybrid than it does with a putter. So when you’re gauging how hard to hit the shot, think of the fringe as if it were the green and just play it like a long putt. That’s a good technique for getting the speed right.

MICHAEL BREED operates his academy at Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in New York City.

GET READY FOR YOUR WEEKEND GAME Every Thursday, I do my instruction show “The Leading Edge” on the Golf Digest Schools digital platform. It’s a chance for you to get some tips you can put into action for the weekend ahead, things like making better contact, controlling your driver and avoiding common swing faults. We even take live questions from viewers, so you can join the conversation. And for a chance to have me analyze your swing during an upcoming show, email me a video at Michael.Breed@golfdigest.com. To learn more about the Golf Digest Schools program, go to golfdigest.com/allaccess.