One of the most important pieces in becoming a good putter and making putts is distance control. Using the AimPoint model, we prescribe a total distance from 6 inches to 1 foot past the hole when making your read. The big question is, what’s the difference between speed control and distance control? Is there a difference?
For this discussion, I will define speed control as the ability to deliver the same speed of the rolling ball to the hole edge.
I will define distance control as the ability to control the total distance the ball rolls.
They seem pretty similar don’t they? But are they the same? Refresh your memory about how green speed and slope direction affect the speed at which a ball rolls by reading this post on Putting Myths.
When it comes to distance, a ball rolling on a ‘fast’ green or going downhill is rolling slower than a ball on a ‘slow’ green or going uphill. This means that if I arrive at the hole with the same speed, the distance the ball will roll past the hole if I miss will be different from an uphill putt vs a downhill putt.
If I deliver 3 revolutions per second of the ball at the lip of the hole (which will will typically give you a nice size of hole capture width) the variance between the total distance past the hole, if missed, is dramatic. On a 4% slope, stimp 8 the downhill putt will roll 4 times farther than an uphill putt with same 3 rps at the lip delivery speed if the putt is missed. Stimp 10 is 6 times farther for the downhill miss and stimp 12 is a whopping 9 times farther on the downhill miss.
So, you tell me. Is it better to have speed control or distance control?
Seems obvious to me that distance control is King.