Rickie Fowler has been consistently thought of as one of the best players and putters on the PGA Tour. In fact, when he’s at the top of the leaderboard and performing his best, it’s the flatstick that helps him pick up strokes on the field, averaging more than two shots better than his fellow competitors on the greens per tournament. In 2019, he ranked 13th on Tour in strokes gained putting. One key to being a great putter is being confident in your read and stroking your putts with 100 percent commitment. Fowler sometimes uses the plumb-bob method to help alleviate any doubt in his mind, and so can you. Here’s how he does it.
1. Go Light
Hold the grip end in your fingers so that the club hangs perfectly vertical and aligned so that the bottom part of the shaft covers the ball. If your putter is face-balanced or has toe hang, you may need to rotate the putterface to get the shaft to hang perfectly vertical. Once you find this position, use it every time.
2. Look Low
Check to see where the upper portion of the shaft, below the grip, falls in relation to the hole. The shaft will appear to the right or the left of the hole depending on the slope of the green, indicating the low side. In other words, the ball will break toward the side where the shaft appears.
3. Get Dominant
To get an accurate read, start with your dominant eye focused on the extension of the line from the hole to the ball and your nondominant eye closed. This is an absolute must when plumb-bobbing.
4. Make a Commitment
Although this method of green reading isn’t widely used on Tour, Fowler is able to use it to commit completely to his chosen line. Commitment allows you to turn your focus to distance control. This is a potent combination for draining putts on a more consistent basis.
Dale Abraham is the director of instruction at Bighorn GC in Palm Desert, Calif.
To receive GOLF’s all-new newsletters, subscribe for free here.