When you miss by just a little, you shouldn’t necessarily blame your read. In some cases, a slight adjustment to speed would show you that your read was actually perfect.
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.
In particular, if a ball goes high and long, but it came close, and it wasn’t too long, then you shouldn’t automatically assume that your read was off, because it went high. Since a putt that went more slowly would have broken more then, had the speed been just right, you might have discovered that your read was perfect.
Similarly, if a ball goes low and short, wasn’t too low or too far short, then again your read might have been just right. Had the ball been moving faster, it might have dropped!
The big takeaway from these observations is that speed control is critical to your putting success. For one thing, if your speed is right, you get really accurate feedback on the quality of your read. For another, with the right read, a putt with the right speed has a better chance of dropping.
Putt ’em straight!
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