Learn How to Play Breaking Putts

Hannah Gregg Shows How to Match Speed and Line

By Ryan Gager

It can be nerve-racking to stand over a putt that has a severe break, especially when you are unsure how much break to play or how hard to hit the putt. In this edition of Data Driven, Professional Golfer Hannah Gregg demonstrates how to play these putts with the help of GOLFTEC’s Nick Clearwater. The first item on the checklist is to make a plan for how you want to hit this putt. Often, amateur golfers just step up to a putt and hit it without thinking about what line to take to play enough break.

Starting Point and Putt Break “Corridor”

GOLFTEC INSTRUCTION
Visualize a corridor to hit through to help you plan for how much break to play. COURTESY GOLFTEC

It’s important to pick a good starting point when faced with a breaking putt. However, determining that starting point can be tricky. Nick and Hannah offer up a couple pieces of advice:

 

  1. There are multiple options on where to start a breaking putting, or a corridor, that the ball can roll through and still go in. These options are based on speed. The harder you hit a putt towards the hole, the less it will break. And vice versa, the softer you hit a putt, the more break you will have to play.
  2. Play more break than you typically think. Many golfers don’t realize how high their starting point has to be for a breaking putt, then watch as their ball dives below the hole, missing on the low side. Instead, try adding more break. If you think a putt might break three inches, aim six inches outside the hole to give yourself more room, allowing the ball to take the break and fall into the cup.

 

Drill to Test Green Reading

GOLFTEC INSTRUCTION
Use a gate or tees to hit through on the practice green to test your green reading skills. COURTESY GOLFTEC

It would be nice to be able to walk up to a putt, be able to read it correctly, then put a great stroke on it and watch it fall into the hole. Unfortunately, this sounds a lot easier than it is! Don’t worry, we have a great drill that you can work on to get your putting in a great spot to read greens and play enough break.

  1. Use a gate or two tees about a foot or more in front of your ball. Line up the gate with where your starting line is based on how you read the break.
  2. If you hit the gate, you know that you’re not hitting the putt on the line you intended. If you make it through the gate, but the putt misses, you know that you have to adjust your starting line (either play more or less break) or speed.

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