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The EOB Putting System

Green reading: allowing enough break

Dear Dr. Putt:
I recently bought one of your EOB putting devices. I really feel like it helps me aim better and I really can see the path of the putter better when I putt, but I seem to almost always miss putts on the low side, much more than I used to I think. What gives here?
Iam Lowe

Dear Mr. Lowe:

The EOB aiming and alignment device is doing what it is supposed to do. Now what you must do is listen to what it is telling you, and that is to allow more break.

Like most other players of the game, you have been grossly underestimating the actual break of putts. Incidentally, Dave Pelz has proven this fact in his study of thousands of players, from amatuers of all levels to professionals. He has also shown that most of us unconsciouisly compensate for this under-read by misaligning so that we actually aim to allow more break. Then we push of pull the ball to add more break, so that the final putt allows much more break than we initially estimated. However, it still falls about 10% short of the actual break. See the Dear Dr. Putt book review of Dave Pelz's Putting Bible.

Now that you are using the EOB device, you are aiming where you intend to aim and actually putting it closer to that aim point. But that point does not allow nearly enough break, so consequently you are missing putts below the hole, and missing them more than you did when you allowed unconscious corrections to take place.

The difference now is that you KNOW where you are aiming and stroking the ball. Thus you can now make corrections and learn to allow for actual break. Before you were without a clue, and therefore could learn nothing about how the ball actually breaks. You could NEVER improve your green reading.

How should you begin to estimate for the actual break? Pelz offers a useful rule of thumb in his book. After you visualize how you think the ball is going to roll, note how far off a straight line to the hole the ball will be at the greatest point in the break. Pelz calls this the "visible break." Then triple this distance. Your aim point is at this distance to the left or right of the hole.

Dr. Putt would leave you with a couple of warnings. One, all breaking putts are speed putts. If you miss and the ball is two feet or more beyond the hole, you SHOULD miss above the hole. Why? Because you rolled the ball too fast, thereby eliminating some of the break. A miss that finishes less than a foot past the hole or short of the hole should be below the hole, because you added early break by rolling the ball too slowly. Nothing was wrong with the read in either of these cases. What was wrong was the speed.

Two, if you are missing above the hole even with the right speed, then those unconscious corrections are still in place. You are unconsciously adding break to a correct read. The EOB device will help eliminate the unconscious corrections, but the subconscious is a powerful force. Some of it may remain. Trust your aim, make sure that your toes form a parallel line, and note the putter path from the visual feedback from the EOB device. Practice making the stroke on a line parallel to your toes. If you do that, then the ball will roll in the direction you intend. Then you can learn and improve, not just hope that good fortune will fall you way.

Please keep Dr. Putt informed of your progress, Mr. Lowe. Now that you know what is happening, with a little work next time you can sign you letter as Mr. Wright!

Dr. Putt

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