Every avid golfer knows that excess sidespin causes drives and approach shots to curve off line. But did you know that sidespin can wreck your putting, too?
The cause of sidespin is the same regardless of the club you’re using. I happens when the face angle does not match the clubhead’s path at impact. Here’s a quick guide to the effects of different face/path combinations: What Makes the Golf Ball Curve?
While the effects of left-to-right (slice) or right-to-left (hook) spin are far less obvious on putts than on regular golf shots, the margin of error is also much smaller on the greens. Sidespin can cause a straight putt to veer off line, but it’s especially harmful on breaking putts. For example, if you apply slice spin on a putt that breaks left-to-right, you’ll almost certainly miss to the right. If you hook the same putt, it may fight the break and miss to the left.
What’s more, clubface angle at impact plays a huge role in determining whether or not your putts start on line. Studies show that face angle is 85% responsible for direction, while path accounts for just 15%. In other words, the ball’s roll will be almost precisely aligned with the face’s impact position.
Ideally, your putts will roll “head over heels,” or “end over end,” which requires matching face angle and path. This drill will tell you if you’re imparting sidespin, and help you correct flaws in your stroke.
Using a colored marker, draw a line all the way around a golf ball (or several balls) at the equator. If you find this difficult, there are electronic ball liners available online and at golf retail outlets.
- On the practice green or your home floor, find a flat spot extending 8 – 12 feet from a cup.
- Aim the line on your ball directly at the target (perpendicular to the putter blade).
- Stroke a putt from 4-5 feet away, watching the line as the ball rolls.
- If the line doesn’t wobble or waver, the roll is end-over-end. Good!
- If the line wobbles, your putter face and path are out of sync.
- Hit putts from various distances to check the accuracy of your stroke on longer and shorter attempts.
- The goal on every putt is to eliminate any wobble in the line. It’s extremely difficult to roll the ball perfectly end over end – even pros rarely do it – but the less wobble, the better.
Since it’s legal to use a lined ball for regular or tournament play, you can take this method onto the course. Whatever it takes to get your putts rolling end-over-end, do it. You’ll make a lot more of them.