What a profound statement! Who would have thought that sinking a long putt would help lower my golf score! I think I need to pay more attention. As I remove my tongue from my cheek, I think every golfer understands the value of expectantly sinking a long putt. Not only does it save strokes, but changes the our mood (even if it is short lived) where we start to think positive about our game. Sinking long putts provide nothing but positive aspects to our round. But I have to ask: what is a long putt?
Before I delve into my what I consider a long putt, I asked what was the longest putt you have ever sunk? I am not surprised by the results as I figure most players have drained a long putt at least once.
I also asked the readers to tell us how far their longest putt was and most of the responses were between 65 and 85 feet. They were definitely long putts and watching one drop was exciting to say the least. Over the years I have sunk my share of longer putts; in my case the longest was about 90 feet. It was at Circle Pines in Borden and I said just before putting, anywhere near the hole would be great! Well in the hole was fantastic. That was the first sub-par round I ever. See, sinking long putts do lower our golf score!
When asked about long putts, immediately golfers think about the 65 footer that they sunk once; even the professionals consider that distance to be long distance, even Jack Nicklaus!
I would counter the conventional thinking by saying that long putts are not necessarily determined by distance, but by the break, uphill or downhill, the green type, and current course conditions. This might seem a bit excessive, but I can assure you that over the years I faced several 5 foot putts that I considered extremely long! And the results of my putting supported my thinking.
While playing at the Canadian Military National competition in Shilo, Manitoba, the field was faced with extremely tough greens. They were anything less than flat, double cut and double rolled, and it was extremely dry at Shilo for the previous two weeks. These were the toughest greens I ever played during competition.
During the 54 hole event, I was faced with short putts, medium putts and long putts. Or at least by previous standards these distances used as a benchmark. However, on the Shilo greens, ball location was king. If I was above the hole, this was very dangerous. Being beside the hole in some cases was worse. On many greens, I considered a 10 foot putt to be extremely long. To add the icing on the cake, I putted from on the green to off the green 7 times over the 3 days. That is right, I was in the wrong position and as a result my ball rolled off the green. Of those 7 nightmare putts, 2 were at 10 feet and the rest between 20 and 30 feet. Needless to say, I felt beat up playing these lightning fast surfaces.
My point about distance determining how long a putt is very one dimensional. There are many factors to be considered when assessing what is a long putt and what is not. This assessment is very personal and does not fit into one specific chart; what you consider long may not be the same for me. So the next time you are putting and you are faced with what seems to be a long distance shot on the greens, you might be able to reduce your concern by considering some of the other factors mentioned above.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!