Speed is a cardinal factor in putting. It is easy for a golfer, preoccupied with getting his line and then being up, to forget this. Putting may be different in some respects from the tee-to-green shots, but essentially you must be as sure of the tempo of your putting stroke as the tempo of your swing on the full shots. If the tempo of your putter is right, it helps tremendously to get the ball rolling at the right speed. You can hit from the top just as easily (and disastrously) as you can on a full shot. When you do, you may occasionally get the ball to finish close to the cup but you can't help being out of control of the ball even when you get away with a rushed, jumpy putt.
Poor putters don't think at all about the speed with which they take the putter back. The good putters do. They know the speed of the backstroke regulates the speed of the forward stroke, and they know the speed of the putter on the forward stroke in turn regulates the speed of the ball. Some day when you are putting on the practice green before a round, instead of trying to hole putts, work on the tempo of your stroke, blending the speed of the take-back and the forward stroke in a smooth rhythm. I think that you'll be amazed at how easily and well you will handle even the touchiest greens.
DAVE MARR, Rockaway Hunting Club, Cedarhurst, N.Y.
NEXT TIP: Joe Knesper on how to cure hitting from the top