Reading a Lip-Out

When the ball hits the edge of the cup and goes skirting off in another direction, it’s harder to get the feedback about your read and your speed. But it’s not impossible. If you pay close attention, there is still a fair amount to be learned.

Ok, you just made a putt to a hole.The ball caught the lip, slid around the cup, and rolled out a 90-degree angle, seeming to gather momentum and extra speed as it did so. Obviously, you can’t use the ball’s finishing position to give you feedback on your read and speed, the way I recommended in Comprehensive Keys to the Green. But if you pay close attention to the angle at which the ball approaches the cup, there is still a lot you can learn.

Take the last couple of inches of the ball’s travel as it approaches the hole, and draw an imaginary line that represents the ball’s path. Now draw a line parallel to that, through the center of the hole. You can now draw some conclusions.

  1. The first question is: Did the ball hit the edge on the high side or the low side of the center line?
    • The answer to that question determines the inferences you can make.
  2. If the ball entered on the low side, mentally adjust your read.
    • In this case, your read was off by several inches.
    • The cup is 4-1/4 inches wide. If the ball had arrived at the cup at the high side, it would at least have had a chance of falling in. So the feedback to take is that your read should have been several inches higher.
    • Note that you could have made the putt if you made a stronger stroke — but your penalty for a miss would then have been much worse! So focus on fixing your read in this case, not your speed.
  3. If the ball entered on the high side, mentally adjust either read or speed
    • If the ball was moving slowly enough when it arrived at the top edge of the cup, it would have dropped. Or you could have putt on a slightly lower line. Either adjustment would work.
    • Use common sense here. If the ball wasn’t moving that fast when it got to the cup, and you slowed it down it even more, you would risk coming up short. You would also make the break even more severe, as gravity acts more strongly on a slower-moving ball. So in this case, leave your speed alone and mentally adjust your read.
    • On the other hand, if the ball shoots off the edge of the cup like it was shot out of a cannon, then clearly the ball had too much speed to have a chance of dropping. And the extra speed meant that the ball didn’t break as much as it otherwise would have. In that case, your read was probably okay, so mentally adjust your speed. With the right speed the putt would have broken more, and it would have had a better chance of dropping.

Copyright © 2017, TreeLight PenWorks

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Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Speed Adjustments Can Fix Break, as Well | May 14, 2017 (7:37 pm)

    […] In Reading a Lip-Out, I noted that since gravity has a stronger effect on a ball that is moving more slowly, the effective break is increased for a slower putt. Similarly, it is decreased for a faster putt. That is fairly common knowledge, of course. But it has important implications for the kind of feedback you should take from a putt — especially when it comes close to going in. […]

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