The Plumb-Bob Method

The putting stroke accounts for approximately 42% of all strokes made during the average round of golf, therefore, a golfer’s putting performance plays a large role in the overall score. Putting is based on set-up, path, impact, speed, and a golfer’s ability to judge slope. 

We make assumptions based on visual cues from the landscape or our sense of balance to judge slope. A popular system that has been used for decades is the plumb-bob method. In the plumb-bob method, a golfer stands behind the ball, perpendicular to the slope, straddling an imaginary line that bisects the ball and hole. The golfer then suspends the putter at arm’s length, allowing gravity to pull the shaft into a true vertical alignment. While sighting only out of the dominant eye, the golfer aligns the bottom of the shaft with the ball.  According to the theory, if there is any slope in the green, then the top of the shaft will be observed to be on the high side of the hole. 

Problems with this method can occur when the slope of the green beneath the golfer is different than the slope between the ball and the hole or if their stance is not perpendicular to the slope. Both can actually suggest that the ball will break incorrectly, so if you use the plumb-bob method, make sure there is a constant slope between you, the ball, and the hole. Also, make sure you stand perpendicular to the slope of the green, otherwise, the method can let you down.