- Posted by Will Stubbs
- On July 24, 2019
Geek Rating – 3/5
Read Time – 4 Mins
Watch Time – 18 Mins
Templeton created the first deterministic model for green reading in the 1970’s. By using fundamental physical laws we can understand how the ball interacts with the surface and as such how to hole more putts. The Zero Break Line is your key partner in this and with it in your arsenal you’ll be unstoppable on the greens.
Let’s get a bit of a background into Horace. A. Templeton before we explore his role in developing the game of golf. In his younger year he was a Lockheed Blackbird bomber pilot and set the record for the fastest man piloted flight from NY to London & World circumference. Later he was the lead manager of Skunk Works projects that saw the creation and secret development of aircraft by the U.S. Military for the second world war. In the 1970s Templeton, an avid golfer, wrote a book which would become a technical putting bible for many in the sport: ‘Vector Putting – The Art and Science of Reading Greens and Computing Break’, and also created golf’s first detailed green-reading maps. He believed that a fundamental inability to read a green was the single biggest single barrier to success for most golfers and we think every golfer can agree with that.
Templeton created the first known deterministic model for putting, meaning that we can begin to understand why we missed a putt. This process starts at the hole and works back, so let’s explore the main tenant to his model, the concept of the Zero Break Line. This defines the gravity vector, in other words how the ball is affected by gravity and the slope during it’s journey into the hole. If you rolled the ball along this line it would go straight into the hole, no questioned asked. We consider this to be the greatest weapon in any golfers arsenal for putting.
Take a look at the image below
Templeton then demonstrated that all putts of the same distance from the hole share a common target point. This lies directly uphill from the hole on the Zero Break Line. Templeton mentions that this is not a definite spot, but more gives us the term an ‘elastic target point’. This was confirmed by the work of Robert Gober in his research ‘The Geometry of Putting on a Planar Surface’ noting it to be more of a diamond that a spot. This accounts for the difference amount of break in downhill putts when compared to uphill.
On a side point, you can see that the high point for the roll of the ball is under the target line of each putt. This could be a reason the majority of golfers “leave it on the low side’ when a approaching breaking putts.
So now let’s put this into practice…
Find yourself a hole and place balls the same distance around the hole. Begin by walking around the cup from double the distance of your putt, find the high side as this is where you’ll find the Zero Break Line. Along this line you will find your target point. Initially you may want to create yourself a physical target on this line, such as a tee peg in the ground, but we feel the best way is to keep it as real as possible. Now it’s time to need to bring visualisation into it and really use your mind to project the line of the putt and the ball tracing it’s way into the hole.
By identifying this Zero Break Line you will begin to understand how the ball interacts with the surface and develop a consistent method for reading putts that will lead for greater performance on the course. All you have to think is where is the Zero Break Line, then it’s just down to getting the ball rolling down that there and letting gravity do its job. Templeton noted that as the grade of the green, speed of the green, and length of the putt increases, a target point persists but its position moves up the gravity vector, i.e. directly uphill from the hole. So by identifying the Zero Break Line you create a vector line that every makeable putt around the hole will be aimed upon.
Get out there and enjoy seeing the game in a new light. Post any videos or pictures of you putting this into practice for your chance to get featured on our site! Just use the hashtag #ZenMyGame!