I was asked a question recently about fast downhill putts. This particular golfer had been told that it was a good idea to hit the ball off the toe part of the putter face on downhill putts as the ball would not roll as fast, was this a good idea?
First of all I think it is important to understand that any golf shot that is not struck from the sweet spot of a club will have less energy transfer than one that is hit with the same properties but from sweet spot. So this part of the statement is correct however there should be other things to take into account as well.
It should also be noted that a ball that is an off centre hit is likely to make the face twist at impact, so a ball hit from the toe end is likely to open the face at the point of contact. In a previous article I pointed out that if we are trying to hit the ball from the middle of the putter it is unlikely on a straight 12 foot putt that we will miss the centre of the sweet spot enough to make the critical difference of sending the ball off line so the ball misses the hole. But in this case the golfer is talking about using the part of the face that almost certainly will twist the face at impact. Also this toe hit method is being applied to any length of putt. This now means the golfer, to hit a good putt has to factor in how much off line the ball is going start as well as how much energy is lost in the off centre hit.
So is it a good idea? I think if any golfer finds they are getting good results and it is backed up by stats and data then the confidence they will have built up with a particular idea shouldn’t necessarily be criticized. But I also think that good putters build their methods around sound principles and one of those principles in putting is about being able to start the ball on the correct line. You will only develop ultimate speed and line control if you can really control true roll of the ball.