In the game of golf, there are always rules of thumb that many will point to be being right all the time. One of the oldest rules is that when putting, a ball will always break towards the nearest body of water, while it will break away from mountains. This rule, however, could be a myth.
The idea behind this old rule is one of common sense. Bodies of water are lower in elevation, meaning that most objects will roll towards them. Mountains, to the contrary, are higher up, meaning that if you put an object on a mountain, it will roll away and off it. This common sense should be the same when putting but according to many professionals, this isn’t always the case.
One of the new ideas is that this is a better rule to follow when playing on an older course. If a course has existed for awhile, there is a high probability that it was built into its natural environment. So if these old courses were built into the mountains or surrounding a natural body of water, everything will tend to funnel downhill or towards the central body of water just because of the landscape.
Newer courses, however, seem to not follow this rule as much because they are highly renovated. Rocco Mediate explained how he played on a course where the low point was to the right side of the green but his putts continuously went to the left on the renovated greens. “The greens are like 2 years old, they redid them, but you can see the grain,” he explained. “It’s so strong — at least it looks that way. But, man, it’s not.”
With these new changes on courses, players can be driven mad with their putts. Mediate continued to explain how frustrating putting can be on these new greens. “I’d seriously rather have a 3-iron into the green than have a 20-footer with grain going everywhere” he said. “You have to respect the way the grain is going. But sometimes it’ll bite you in the butt.”
So while this rule has treated players well in the past, it may not be the best rule of thumb to follow all the time. The best advice would be to be aware of your surroundings and trust your eyes when reading your putts in the future.
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