The Science of Plumb-Bobbing with your Putter
You may have seen Justin Rose or other professional golfers try to read the break of a putt by using their putter as a Plumb-Bob (PB). Standing behind your ball and using your putter to determine the break of a putt is USELESS. PB only helps you understand the break of the green UNDER YOUR FEET. Since your ball breaks the most as it slows down near the hole, you should only use PB FROM THE HOLE SIDE of the ball’s path to the hole. You rarely see this done correctly by the pros on TV.
When to Plumb-Bob
1/ Don’t waste your time plumb-bobbing when you can see an obvious break on the path from your ball to the hole. You still have to estimate the amount of break for your putt.
2/ If you can see 2 or 3 breaks on the path for your ball (DON’T PLUMB-BOB) just make your best guess where your ball will break to reach the hole and prey for a 2 putt green.
3/ Ideally you should plumb-bob if you can’t see the break on a smooth green for up to a 10 foot putt. Slight breaks on a downhill putt are the most difficult to read and should be read by using PB.
CALIBRATE YOUR PUTTER BEFORE you ever Try to Plumb-Bob
Every putter head has a different weight so it may change the angle of the shaft as it hangs down from your hand. In any building, close one eye (remember to always use the same open eye for PB) and hold your putter with an outstretched arm as you line up a specific side of your shaft facing the frame of a door (not including the grip). Change the orientation of your putter head until one side of the shaft lines up perfectly with the frame of a door and remember that exact orientation.
Always use the SAME open eye, SAME side of the shaft and SAME direction of your club face FOR ALL OF YOUR PLUMB-BOBBING. [I use my right eye to line-up the left side of my putter shaft while using my right hand to hold the putter with the face pointing directly at the hole.]
Plumb-Bobbing on the Green
1/ Stand below the hole (but fairly close to the hole) and ONLY use your PB eye (close the other one) to first line up the center of the hole with the center of your ball.
2/ Then hold your putter in front of that eye with the correct putter face orientation (as it was calibrated) and line up the BOTTOM of the correct side of your putter shaft with the center of the hole.
3/ The UPPER end of your putter shaft will only line up with the center of your ball if there is no break at the hole. If the correct side of your shaft lines up on one side of your ball (the left of right side), that side is the HIGH side of the green so your ball will break from that side down to the hole as it nears the hole. You can only practice putting to understand how much break to expect.
You still need to account for the initial break that your ball may make as it starts along the initial 75% of the path to the hole. WARNING: Plumb-Bobbing only helps you estimate the direction of the break near the hole (or more accurately where your feet are standing). The Science of Plumb-bobbing only gives you the direction of the break. The Art is in estimating the AMOUNT of break. Practice your putting with GOLFSTR+ for a flat wrist swing from your shoulders. Buy one today at www.GOLFSTR.com
Golf Truism #49: The only thing you can learn from golf books is that you can’t learn anything from golf books, but you have to read an awful lot of golf books to learn it.