Putting – Always Die the Ball In the Hole

By | on November 4, 2020 | 36 Comments | Array


Sorry, this content is for members only.

Click here to get access.


Already a member? Login below

Remember me (for 2 weeks)

Forgot Password


Author Description

Avatar photo

Paul Wilson is the creator of Swing Machine Golf and founder of Ignition Golf. Paul's golf swing technique is based on the Iron Byron swing machine. YouTube Channels: Paul Wilson Golf and Ignition Golf Tips. Please Join me on Google+

36 Responses to “Putting – Always Die the Ball In the Hole”

  1. July 18, 2013

    Steven D

    Wouldn’t you say that, if your ball is slightly off line and not going too fast, there’s also a better chance that a putt will fall in the side of the hole rather than lip out? That’s the way Jack Nicklaus putted and he had pretty good success.

    • Steven,

      Yes, that is another advantage. I like it. Jack was a great putter. Not many people think about that when referring to him.

  2. July 18, 2013


    Hi Paul,

    I am so happy to see this tip. So many “knowledgeable” golfers insist on never leaving a putt short. As you hinted in the tip, 100% of the putts that end up short, don’t go in the hole. Harvey Penick noted that 100% of the putts that go PAST the hole don’t go in, either. A six inch tap in is easier than a two-footer coming back. How many times have we heard a “good” golfer say, “Well at least I got it to the hole.” Big deal.

    Thanks for reaffirming my 50 year belief.


    • Len,

      A lot of golf is about mishits. If you miss it long which you will if you are trying to get it past the hole, you put yourself in a position to make a mistake. If you reduce the mistakes in your current golf you would gain more confidence. More confidence means better golf.

  3. Paul – in order to understand my distances in putting in order to die in the hole, should I practice taking strokes back and forth from different distances ie: 3 inches back or the inside of my back foot, then 6 inches back or the outside of my back foot, then 12 inches back?

    I’m always golfing with my dad, who says to me, you never leave a birdie putt short. Thanks for the tips.


    • Ryan,

      Using your feet is a good way to approximate your distances until you are good enough to not be thinking at all.

      A birdie putt can easily turn into the bogey putt. Birdie putts are the ones you are going to ram by the hole the most because it is a birdie putt and you are trying to make. Why not eliminate the errors from your game. This would give you more confidence and allow you to play better golf.

  4. July 18, 2013


    I have so appreciated the guides on putting. I have been killing my scores because of my putting. I did get the drive pretty perfected for a nearly 80 lady. I do use my body both ways and go easy. I do the in front-off the ground practice swing first. Mostly they are going a bit farther and straighter. I am so happy.

    My next big challenge is how to swing for a chip. I get the positioning and grip. When I take it just back to my foot for a short chip it never goes well. When I have a longer one, do I keep my body still through the swing except at the end or lead with the body as with the drive? Amount of power related to distance is the challenge here. What do you suggest?

    Is there a place in your technique to use to theses phrases: to put the ball by left foot;”left for loft” and inside right foot, “right for roll?

    • June,

      You are making way too much of chipping. The ball is back in your stance off the instep. You have a 3-4 knuckle grip with the hands ahead. You have 70% of your weight on your left. Once set up like this … putt. This is like your putting stroke. Forget how far you are taking it back etc. Act like you are putting it. This will give you the effort level you need. Short chip = short putt. Farther off the green = Longer putt. Another way to practice is forget the pin. Just get every chip on the green first. This will give you confidence. Once you can get every chip on the green then, and only then, should you go for a hole.

      I have a bunch of chipping tips on this site. I’m sure you have seen them. If not, you can find them with the red nav bar at the top of any page.

      • April 7, 2018


        Paul, I find your video tip on “Chipping from tight lies” is absolutely awesome!! I’m basically using it all the time and find it so greatly more “fool proof” – totally unbelievable improvement for me. Thanks so much!

        • Dan,

          Yes, this is huge and this is what everyone tells me. Works like a charm and saves a ton of shots. Glad you found it and do it.

  5. Hi Paul,

    Great tip I never putt badly My only concern about this would be that some people would end up leaving their putts 2 feet short when trying to die them into the hole.What do you think?

    • Paul,

      I would take 2 feet short over 4 feet past any day. Most people are going to be 95%+ from 2 feet. From 4 feet they will most likely be 75-80%. I mentioned this to a few other people in replying to them. The idea is to not make mistakes. If you are not making mistakes you are going to get confidence. If you are confident you will play better. As soon as you miss a 4 footer you will be doubting yourself. Do it twice in a round and you will be a nervous wreck. This could go into future rounds of golf as well. Now you cannot putt at all. This all started because you kept trying to make everything.

  6. Paul ,A long Time ago ,DAVE PELZ ,in his excellent book,THE PUTTING BIBLE ,demonstrated THE principle according to which you should try to hole your put or If not ,have it Roll 16/18inches past THE hole .While not disputing your common sense instruction “Die THE put in THE hole “,I make THE following comments :from far ,15,20 ,25 ,30 feet from THE hole ,
    most people leave their put desperately short ,and are thus on THE way to three put .At home ,I have an 8 m

    • Raymond,

      This is what I am referring to.

      Dying the ball in the hole is safer and it stops people from making mistakes which can lead to losing confidence when you putt. You can do what you feel comfortable doing. Most people are bad putters who try to make everything.

  7. Thank you Paul, as always, great tip and advice. Is there an exception to the rule? Do you believe it is better to leave it short in downslopes? Leaving the putt short in a severe downslope may be difficult to tap in since you are facing the downslope again, while passing past the whole may leave you with a longer but easier put.

    I usually struggle with distance control. Im starting to try your recent tip but I had my feet too close together and I was wondering if there is a unique width (shoulder’s width) or it adjustable to be as comfortable as possible?

    • Jose,

      If you are going downhill I want you to be careful to not leave it 3-4 feet short. Remember, I am not saying don’t get it to the hole. I am saying die it in the hole instead of ramming it by the hole. If you leave it a little short that’s fine. 3, 4 and 5 feet past is not good because you will miss some coming back.

      I like the width of the stance to be like you are hitting a 7-iron. This is a medium stance. Not too narrow. Not too wide. Give it a try.

  8. April 12, 2016


    Sage advice. Add this to putting really long putts in practice to develop that feel element and I rarely 3 putt anymore. About only once in 18-27 holes typically now. On fast greens and sharply cut (and very inforgiving too) holes, it is much better to finish the continuation of my current putting line than looking at a ‘new’ putt coming back. Especially if coming back is downhill!!

  9. April 13, 2016

    R. J.Suh

    What do you recommend for people when they start to block and pull putts?


  10. I’ve tried this for the past few rounds, it has (for me) the downside, that the breaks come much more into play. I missed a couple of putts because they broke a lot more than usual due to the lower speed.

  11. This comment pertains to the 2nd putt, even if just 6 inches away. Public play courses I play in Northern California tend to have a lot of pin sets that are “volcanos.” My definition of this is that groundsmen get lazy and pull up when placing the cup rather than rotating. Therefore, there is a break in all directions within 1-2 inches of the cup. That said, do you recommend hitting the short 2nd putt to the back of the hole to overcome the bad pin set?

    • James,

      At that distance to the cup they should be giving the putt to you. In your case this is very rare. Even with this break you should be able to make it. Just aim at the center and hit it hard. I can see how you miss from this distance even with severe break.

    • James,

      Also you should be stepping around the hole to flatten it out. These are conditions no one plays in so you need to fix it if you can.

  12. Totally agree with this. Personally, what I do is to concentrate on a spot where I want the ball to start slowing down, in other words where it will start dying. It can be just before the hole or a few feet before depending on the slope. However this doesn’t stop me from trying to make the putt, the target being the hole. Same thing for chipping, I concentrate on the landing spot but I also visualize the ball going in.

    • Raoul,

      Very good. Yes, you want to see you are going to make it but not get so excited that you hit it way by the hole.

  13. Paul,
    On short 3-4 foot putts with break do you still die it at the hole or try to hit it firm and take the break out? It seems when I watch the pros they tend to do the latter unless it is a steep downhill putt.

    • Steve,

      I never try to hit it too hard. I never want to 3 putt especially from a really short distance. If you want to give it a little extra I’m fine with that but you hit it so hard your miss is longer than your original putt and that’s an issue.

  14. December 5, 2020

    J ThomasHannan

    Paul, I attended your school in 18, including the putting portion. It seems to me from a relatively short distance the pros mostly ram the ball into the hole to take the break away. Occasionally they miss and end up further away and occasionally miss the come back, but they mostly make those puts. Do you advocate dying those short putts as well?

    • Avatar photo

      December 11, 2020

      Paul Wilson

      They are playing on very good condition greens with little imperfections, so the approach of them using more speed and playing less break can work. Plus those are the best putters in the world, if the miss the first the chances of them making the next one is still good. It doesn’t always work out that way, plus you are not seeing the guys that are missing all of the harder hit putts that are missing the cut that week. I am trying to get you to die the ball into the hole to cut down on 3 putts, but if you want to give the shorter putt some more speed that is fine, but watch out for going too far past if they are missed.

  15. For reference, I am a low single digit handicap 72 year old who has shot his age or better multiple time in the past year snd a half. I also model my swing on Paul’s Swing Machine Golf method.

    Dave Pelz recommendations were based on years of actual research. His conclusion was that putts that are rolling at a speed that would finish 17” past the hole, if on line, will result in the highest percentage of putts made. That is a data-based conclusion and recommendation. This tip from Paul is not data-based in any way that I can tell, though I would love to read the studies if it is.

    The issue then becomes, how well can the average golfer, the ones that Paul teaches, control their distance. Implicit in this tip is that every golfer attempting to die the ball at the hole will finish right around the hole with a six inch putt left, but every golfer trying to roll it 17” past will blow a fair number of them 4 feet or more past. I submit that if a golfer is not good enough to control his distance such that he hits it more than double the distance he is targeting past the hole, then he is also going to be unable to consistently not leave putts short by the same error margin, that is, he will leave putts at least 2.5 feet short (4 feet minus 17”). Assuming he actually putts all putts, his miss percentage from 2.5 feet will not be zero, something Pelz has also proved, and tour players prove weekly despite near perfect greens, something most of us never see.

    Statistically, on line putts rolling at the Dave Pelz speed will be holed about twice as frequently as on line putts not at that speed. All on line putts left short will not be made, something which happens much more often to the die crowd than to the 17” past crowd. All off line putts will not be made in either group, so they are irrelevant to the analysis. Therefore, the die at the hole putter will make only half as many on line putts as the 17” past putter, and those are putts that reach the hole. The die at the hole putter will also miss all putts that die short of the hole, something the 17” past putter will rarely have. Using Paul’s number that one will miss 30% of the past the hole four footers, a player would have to whack a lot of putts four feet past the hole for the 30% combackers he misses to offset the fewer number of putts holed from being too short, and the fewer number holed resulting from green irregularities around the hole adversely affecting putts rolled too slowly.

    Pelz has an excellent short putt drill, an excellent 20 foot drill, and a decent lag putt drill (which I don’t do because I don’t leave a lot of 40-60 footers, a distance at which he DOES NOT recommend the 17” past target.). He recommends lagging to the hole outside 30-35 feet, not 17”past. If a player is such a bad putter that he consistently hits putts 4+ feet past a hole from inside 35 feet when he is targeting 17” past, then his problem is not his goal of die versus 17” past. His problem is poor control of his speed. Bad putters don’t make a lot of putts no matter what method they use. Good putters will make a lot more based on Pelz data using his recommendations.

    And, Yes, Nicklaus was a die at the hole putter, so he claimed, but look at where most of his misses finished, and they were not short or on the lip. Even Nicklaus knew that 100% of putts left short failed to go in, and, Yes, Pelz studied what Nicklaus did versus what he said he did, and they were not the same!

    • The basis of what I am saying is that I want the average golfer of thinking about dying the golf ball into the hole and this is the speed that they should get used to, yes some might be short some might be too long but generally the thought of letting the golf ball die into the hole will improve the average golfer in stopping 3 putts. # putts are a very common problem for most golfers in higher handicaps. If you’re a 2 handicap like yourself, you probably don’t have that many anymore. But if the average golfer is thinking about the 17″ past the hole then they are very likely to hit it too hard and now they have more likely to have 3 putts. If every golfer was a great putter and could dial in the distance control perfectly then this would be a mute conversation, but they are not.

      My best advice for is this: go out for 1 round of golf and think about dying the golf ball into the hole for speed control, then try one round thinking about 17″ past. See what works best for you. I know what works best for me.

You must be logged in to post a comment.