How to Know When to Putt From the Fringe

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How to Know When to Putt From the Fringe

"Always putt it when you can" may not always be the best advice when it comes to putting the ball when it's on the fringe
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Written By:

Sue Powers

Sue Powers is Co-Owner Nancy Lopez Golf Adventures, 2017-18 LPGA Top 50 Best Teachers, 2013 National Teacher of the Year, LPGA-USGA Girls Golf Site Director, and Controller & Teaching Pro at Pelican Pointe Golf & Country Club located in Venice, Fl.

While a putter does have the advantage of keeping the ball on the ground, sometimes it is better to get a little loft on the shot, especially if you have obstacles in your way. Using a club that has just a little bit of loft like a fairway wood, hybrid or wedge may be the better option.  

Here are some factors to consider before you decide whether to putt or chip the ball from the fringe:  

If there is long grass behind the ball and your putter is going to get caught in it on the takeaway or even on the downswing, don’t attempt to putt the ball. You are much better off “putting” it with a fairway wood or hybrid that can slide through the grass or even putting it with a sand wedge. The easy option however is to chip it where you can hit it with a downward blow. 

 

Are you able to get your putter on the ball without getting caught in the long grass? 

If there is long grass behind the ball and your putter is going to get caught in it on the takeaway or even on the downswing, don’t attempt to putt the ball. You are much better off “putting” it with a fairway wood or hybrid that can slide through the grass or even putting it with a sand wedge 

 

Is there a lot of fringe between your ball and the edge of the green? 

If you have a couple of feet of fringe; your putter is an option. If you have 5 feet or more; your decision becomes more complicated. The more fringe you have the more difficult it is going to be to decide how hard to hit the shot without leaving it short of the putting surface or running it off of the green 

 

How smooth is the fringe that you have to putt over? 

Look closely at the grass between your ball and the green. If it is smooth and with the grain of the grass, you may decide to putt the ball.  If there are any big bumps, divots, old ball marks, tall tufts of grass, against the grain of the grass or anything else that could cause your ball to bounce or slow up, the hybrid, fairway wood or a “Texas” wedge may be your better option.   

 

Once you make the decision to putt, your goal is to hit the ball with enough pace to get it through the fringe and then roll the ball smoothly to the hole. This will require a few extra practice swings than normal so you can get a good feel for what a normal putt that distance would feel like and then add just a little extra to get through the fringe. Play Happy! 

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