PUTTING and the Importance of Face Angle

Scott Sackett
Director of Instruction
McCormick Ranch Golf Club
Scottsdale, AZ

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We all want to make more putts while playing golf.  Ultimately, if we can make more putts it is very likely we’ll shoot lower scores. It is fair to say the closer the ball gets to the hole, the higher the chance becomes we’ll make the putt. It is also mostly true that most short putts do not break much.  

When someone asks me, “How do I make more putts?” I respond with, “Start with the short ones and work your way out from there.”  

The next logical question is “How do I actually make more short putts?” I would consider a short putt less than five feet in length and for examples sake, let’s assume the putt is straight uphill (image 1).  

I’ve opened the face slightly to show how even the smallest of face variations at impact can cause a putt to miss (see red arrow). You can see the face is pointed at the right edge of the hole.  

I cannot stress this enough. The biggest influencing factor to making more short putts is how square the face is at impact to the intended line of putt.  Due to the relatively low speed of the putter head, the influence the Putter Path has on the starting line of the putt is small. This leaves the orientation of the face at impact as the primary force directing the starting direction of the golf ball.  

If you could only work on one thing while putting, I would take two alignment sticks, going straight back from each edge of the cup and hit putts inside those proverbial railroad tracks. This will give you a visual as to what your Face Angle might be at impact while hitting putts. More importantly, it will train your eyes to correctly see the center of the hole in relation to where your putter face is aimed. In most of my putting lessons, where the face is pointed at address and how it is returned to impact is almost always skewed.    

As you can see (image 2), the ball starts on and finishes just right of the hole.  This is a result of a Putter Face which was only slightly open at impact. You could apply this principle to a closed face as well. Had the putter face been slightly closed at impact, the putt would likely have missed slightly left.  

Scott Sackett, GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher since 1999, just voted as one of Golf Digest’s Best Teacher in the State for the fifth year in a row. Also Director of Instruction at Park Meadows CC in Park City Utah and while in Scottsdale teaches at McCormick Ranch Golf Club. If you would like to reach Scott, you can contact him through his website at www.scottsackett.com