Putts with huge amounts of break on them, or those that really curve a lot as they travel to the hole, are not a problem to deal with provided you pick a high spot to putt at and get the ball up to this point as you play the putt.
Break is simply the curve that the ball will experience as it rolls towards the hole, due to the slope on the putting surface. The high spot of the break, or the curve, is the point where the curve is at its maximum, or the apex of it, before the ball begins to travel back towards the hole.
Whenever you are faced with a putt which has a big break on it you want to focus on where you believe the high point of the curve is, rather than the hole. Work on putting the ball along the line from the ball to the high spot point and on hitting it at a speed where it will reach that point and then fall down to the hole. If the ball is hit too slowly it obviously will not make it to the high point before it curves down towards the hole and similarly if it is struck too firmly, it will travel past the high point and then curve down too far beyond the high point. A putt hit too softly to reach the high point will end up short of the hole and a putt hit too firmly beyond the high point will finish beyond the hole.
Working on hitting your putts accurately at the high point, with the correct amount of speed so that they curve back towards the hole at this high point, will really improve both your accuracy and your distance control on big breaking putts.
Try this drill to improve your ability to both read the curve of big breaking putts so that you can accurately pick the position of the high spot of the curve and also your ability to actually get the ball to this point with the correct speed.
Go to the putting green and find a really big breaking putt. Place a golf ball on the green as far away from the hole as your average first putt distance. Now place a putting string from the ball to the hole. A putting string is simply a line of string attached to a stick or rod at either end – you could create one of these with a pair of knitting needles, they would be ideal. Place one stick where the ball is and the other on the far side of the hole so that the string line between them is elevated above the ground and the ball can roll under it without touching it.
Hit a putt directly under the putting string towards the hole at a pace that is correct for the distance to the hole. Now watch how the ball curves from under the string. Hit a few of these putts to learn the speed and the curve. Once you have the curve that is happening, move the string to the side of the hole to allow the curve to finish in the hole. Now hit the same putt that you were just practising and this time the ball will curve from under the string and finish in the hole. Work on hitting the putt to the same point on the string where it then curved from under – that’s your high point of the curve.
Work on this drill and you should find that you are able to see the break, or curve that the ball will experience, much better the next time you are out on the course and if you are able to see the high point and you have worked on getting the ball to that high point in your practice, then you will putt much better when faced with big breaking putts the next time you are out on the golf course.