Blog, Rob wilkinson

Putting – What’s more important? Putter Face or Pace?

If you’re looking to hole more putts then this might be of interest.


Recently we had the question posed to us ‘what is more important the line you start your putt on or the pace the ball is travelling?’.


So here is what some research suggests…

It’s interesting to note that the ball doesn’t just have one line that it can be holed on. The key in the bottom right of the image below shows what the slowest pace would look like (yellow line) along with the fastest (black line) both ending up 6 inches below ground.

See this image to imagine when putting….

We know that every golf hole is 4.25in wide and larger than the size of a golf ball (1.68 inches). This suggest we have a margin for error or a window that we can putt between.

In order to be a top class putter we know there are 3 key areas you would need to master.

Green Reading – The art of predicting how the ball will roll on the green. Not just the curvature but the effect the green would have on the speed of the roll. Effectively predicting the stimp of the green.

Start Direction – The ability to start the ball on your intended line.

Pace – The ability to hit your ball the appropriate distance.

Let’s say you feel efficient in reading a green. (Sounds easy I know). Then the ownus is on getting the pace of your putt and the line correct. Well to achieve this the following technical parameters need to be optimised in order to hole the putt. These are…

  1. Launch direction – 90% of this is controlled by your putter face at impact. The horizontal direction the ball sets off on in relation to the target/start line.
  2. Ball Speed – The initial speed the ball leaves the putter face just after Impact. affected by central strike and speed your putter is travelling.
  3. Vertical Launch – The distance the ball travels before it first touches the ground and how much it skids before it start rolling perfectly. You need launch as the ball will often sit in a low impression on the green.

So now we have a few areas to work on so how do we prioritise them?… are you better working on controlling your Pace or your Face angle at impact.


Being a Trackman Level 2 coach has come in handy as it allows me access to their data and tour statistics.





Looking at these charts it would suggest there are a lot of benefits to focussing more on the speed of your putts over the start direction. Not that start direction isn’t important but there are tolerances on start direction, we might consider the tolerance of speed to be less kind.

If the entry speed of your putt is –

Dead weight (just falling in the hole) the effective size of the hole is 100%… All 4.25 inches wide.

1.68mph the hole size reduces to 74%….Making the hole 3.14 inches wide.

3.15mph the hole size is 37%….Making the hole 1.57inches wide.


In effect the firmer you hit a putt the smaller you are making the hole size that then makes the tolerance on launch direction lower and the need for it to be nearer the hole. It also leaves the next putt longer if your attempt doesn’t go in.

On the other hand the lowest speed possible makes the hole size it’s largest but you are at risk of not getting the ball to the hole PLUS the ball is more susceptible to break and green inconsistencies meaning it’s more likely to move offline.

The optimum entry speed then is around the 1.68mph, this making the hole smaller but the ball should stay on line without leaving you a too testing putt back (roughly 1.5 feet) if you miss.

Main thoughts to take to the practice green…

  • Golf is what the Ball does! Prioritise Ball Control over Stroke (and Swing) perfection.

  • Pace is King. It determines your Line/Launch Window/Margin of Error/Club Face Angle Tolerance.

  • Dont be that golfer that stands in one place hitting the smae putt. Use your imagination. Vary your distance and your pace, try holing putts where the ball just drops in along with putts that are going at speed.

Here at Peter field Golf Shop we use Trackman 4 to analyse your putting performance. If you would like to know more about this subject get in touch with one of our team where we can tell you more about your pace, start direction, tempo and ball speed.


Rob Wilkinson

PGA Professional