With rain falling earlier this week in Georgia, the greens at Augusta National are a bit more forgiving, at least for the moment.
As the Washington Post noted, “As well as the greens drain at Augusta National, the rain makes these reputed marble like surfaces play slower.”
However, the weekend forecast calls for dry, sunny weather, so there’s still plenty of time for the lightning overhead to recede and the lightning-fast greens to emerge.
But make no mistake, even at their softest, the greens at Augusta National would seem plenty fast and absolutely treacherous to the average golfer. And all the talk of Augusta National’s greens is a good excuse to delve into the topic of putter loft, and how it factors into your putter fitting equation.
Most putters come in a stock loft between two and four degrees. The idea behind putter loft is that the ball rests in a natural depression, however slight, when idle on the green. The loft of the putter lifts the ball from this depression upon impact, ideally sending it on a truer roll.
So what is the optimal putter loft? Well, it depends on the golfer and his or her stroke. However, as a rule of thumb, you need less loft if you play regularly on hard, fast greens, because the natural depression of the ball is shallower on firmer surfaces.
If your putter loft is too high for your stroke and playing conditions, the ball is launched too far and skids toward the target. Conversely, if your putter loft is too low for your stroke and playing conditions, the ball is driven into the ground and bounces toward the target. The correct loft will promote a true forward roll, minimizing skidding and bouncing for better accuracy and distance control.
So keep a close eye on the roll of your ball. If you see a pattern of bouncing or skidding, you probably need an adjustment in the loft department.
P.S. To take control of your own putter fitting so that you can achieve a better fit for better results on the green, check out Putter Perfection, PutterZone.com’s putter fitting guide.