By David Leadbetter
Photo by Dom Furore
The common mistake when putting up or down a slope is to adjust the force applied in the stroke. In other words, giving the ball a whack when you need to get it up on another tier, or gently tapping it when it’s all downhill to the hole. If you’re adjusting how hard you hit the ball from putt to putt, you’ll lose your rhythm, and getting the speed right becomes a matter of luck, not skill.
Here’s a way to take control of these uphill and downhill putts so that even when you do miss, the next one is a tap-in. Let’s start with the downhill one I’m hitting here. When you’re in a similar situation, before you take the club back, imagine the hole is closer to you than it is. How close? Depends on the severity of the slope, but get your imagination working as you make a practice stroke at the same pace you would for any other putt. You’ll find your stroke is shorter, but the club smoothly accelerates.
The opposite works with uphill putts. Just think the hole is farther away than it really is. The only thing that should change is the length of the stroke. Keep the tempo the same, and you’ll have much better control on the slopes. —WITH RON KASPRISKE