Plumb-Bobbing: Your Putting Break-through

Plumb-bobbing (PBing) to determine the break of a putt near the hole is a critical piece of information that you need to know if you can’t quite read the break NEAR THE HOLE. PBing with your putter is the only legal way to see the actual slope near the hole. DON’T waste your time PBing unless you know how to do it correctly and especially if you can’t see any break.

I have seen many pros on televised tour events trying to see the slope of the green from behind their ball. Unfortunately that only tells them the slope below their feet and near the ball (NOT NEAR THE HOLE). The worst break on every putt happens as your ball slows down near the hole. So your primary concern is the break near the hole and the only way to measure the direction of the break is to plumb-bob behind the hole. [ I REPEAT: Plumb-bobbing actually measure the slope of the green directly below your feet when you stand on a line extending between the hole and your ball. Ideally you need to stand behind the hole to see the actual slope near the hole.]

NOTE: If you can see a double or triple break, PB will only help you read the direction of the break near the hole (when you measure from behind the hole and back to your ball). On a severely sloped green, your ball will start to break at the start of the putt (near your ball) so don’t forget to include that break in your read. Don’t try to Plumb-Bob if you don’t follow these 4 steps as you most likely will not read the right measurement.

1/ Calibrate your putter: (a) Because the weight of your putter head can change the angle of your shaft (when you hang your club from your fingertips) you need to determine a consistent DIRECTION TO POINT THE PUTTER FACE when you are using it to PB. (b)You also need to use the same eye every time you PB. (c) To “calibrate” your putter stand back from a door frame and hang the putter in front of you with 1 eye closed (then try the other eye). (d) The shaft is tapered so you need to consistently use the same eye and the same side of the putter with the face of your putter pointing in the same direction that allows your putter to line up with the side of the door frame.

I close my left eye to view with my right eye and line up my left side of my putter shaft when the putter face is pointing directly at the door frame. [Calibrate your putter now!]

2/ If you can see that the green has an obvious slope at the hole, don’t waste your time PBing. Just putt to the high side. [Use PBing to speed up your play not to waste time. Do your PBing while others are checking out their putts as you are only sorting out the slope direction near the hole.]

3/ If there are a number of left and right breaks on the path of your putt, don’t waste your time PBing unless you need to read the final break near the hole.

Plumb-Bobbing: Stand on the line from the hole to your ball.  Hang your “calibrated” putter shaft to line up with the hole.  The shaft lines up on the high side above the ball. The putt in this photo has a right to left break.

4/ To determine the high side of the green (the side where your putt will break down to the hole), stand behind the flagstick and visualize a straight line from the flagstick to your ball. Hold your putter up and line up with the bottom of the shaft with the center of the hole (using your calibrated eye, your calibrated side of the shaft and calibrated putter face direction). If your putter shaft lines up with the ball, there is no slope on the green where you are standing. If the upper part of your putter shaft lines up on one side of the flagstick then that is the high side of the green (at the point where you are standing).

Test out your plumb-bobbing skill on the practice green to build confidence in reading the break at the hole (and also from behind your ball if you can’t see the obvious break where you are standing). Now that you know the direction of the break at the hole, practice with a flat leading wrist for straight putts with your GOLFSTR+ to the high side of the hole and sink more putts. Buy one today at