- Get to know the greens before you putt them by asking your playing partners for advice and taking notes from their own experiences.
- To make a long putt, break it up into manageable pieces and choose your pace before starting.
- When putting, don’t be afraid to take your time and break the hole down into smaller shots.
- Be mindful of the local rules and topography, and start reading using your feet too.
- A Reddit user claims that although there are many ways to read greens, sometimes it is best to use your judgment or intuition instead of blindly following a method.
- As George Box famously quoted, “All models are wrong, but some are useful.” When determining how to read a green properly, it is always essential to test out different methods.
- An ability to read putting greens is one of the ways to tell if someone is a good golfer
It was a sunny day, and I was at the golf course, enjoying a round of golf with my friends. As we were playing, one of my buddies, who is a lot better than me at golf, mentioned that he had recently had the chance to talk to a professional golfer.
Intrigued, I asked him more about it, and he went on to tell me all about how these rules can help improve anyone’s game, regardless of their skill level.
He then proceeded to tell me a story about when he was playing in a golf tournament and was having some trouble reading the greens. He said that he was about to give up on his putt when he heard someone calling out from behind him.
It was the pro golfer who had been giving a clinic earlier that day, and he came over to offer some advice. My friend told him that he was having trouble reading the greens, and the pro golfer told him about some rules for reading greens.
After hearing all this, I was really motivated to try out these rules for myself and see if I could improve my game. Thankfully, I live near a golf course, so I can go out there pretty much any time I want and practice.
Even if you’re not a great golfer, following these rules can still help you get closer to the hole on your putts, which is always a good thing.
13 Methods for Reading Golf Putting Greens
If you can’t read greens, it won’t matter how well you putt. Without proper aim, success is impossible. Do you wish to reduce your strokes on the greens? In addition to honing your putting skills, you should focus on learning the break. This article discusses 10 rules for reading greens.
1. Read on the Way Up
One strategy to improve your green reading skills is to practice doing so as you approach the hole. Walking makes this a breeze.
In a distance of around 20 yards, the undulations and slopes become apparent. Examine the forthcoming chip or putt and start planning for the break and slope.
You can perform the same thing while riding a golf cart, though it won’t be as efficient because you’ll be pulling the cart up behind the green. Initially, you should gauge the green’s degree of incline.
Keep an eye out for any noticeable elevation changes, such as hills, tiers, or slopes. Most greens have a back-to-front sloping design.
2. Always Start Behind the Putt
After marking your ball on the green, you should move behind the hole and begin reading the putt. This is the first thing you should do; don’t bother going around to the other side of the hole before checking it out from the inside.
If you’re really stuck, you can always peek in through the hole and see what’s going on back there. There’d be room for doubt if you looked at the cup from both sides.
3. Use Your Feet
Reading the green with your feet is a fantastic strategy as well. True, the ground beneath your feet can provide valuable information about the putt and aid in your green reading efforts.
The Aimpoint system is a formalized method of utilizing your feet to read greens. Perhaps even Adam Scott, a regular on the PGA Tour, use this strategy for judging putts.
4. Choose a Pace Before Putting
Having the appropriate line for every putt but not the right pace for that line can result in missed putts almost every time. Find out what kind of putter you are by answering this question.
Do you end up in the hole on the final rotation? Alternatively, do you tend to pull out the big guns and drive home the point?
5. Remember Local Rules
You might expect a fluctuation in your pace as you play different courses and in varying weather conditions. It’s possible for things to be vastly different between rounds of golf at various courses due to factors like weather, grass type, and green layout.
Furthermore, some courses’ greens are significantly quicker than others.
6. Learn to Read Grain
Grain might have a significant role in green reading depending on the area in which you play. One place to start is by observing the grass for any sudden shifts in hue.
A putt that is down grain is one in which the grass is lying in the same direction as the intended path of the ball. The grass will be lying in your favor if you putt into the grain.
If it’s nighttime, the putting surface will be darker, and the putt will be slower.
7. Stick to a Routine
Reading greens is greatly aided by developing a solid putting practice. The practice of your putting stroke deserves as much attention as your full-shot technique.
Reduce the complexity of your daily activities. From behind the hole, read the break, aim for the apex, take some practice strokes, and then make the putt.
8. The Plumb Bobbing Debate
Plumb bobbing is a traditional method of green reading. Even though several pros on the PGA Tour have utilized it (Ben Crenshaw included), I can argue both for and against its use.
The purpose of the plumb bob is to determine the incline or decline of the putting surface, however for the most part, this is self-evident.
9. Learn From Partners
I will never forget watching the 2004 Masters and hoping without hope that Phil would win his first major. Phil faced a tricky putt on the 72nd hole at Augusta.
Chris DiMarco, his playing partner, fed him the ideal pass. In order to get a read on Chris’s putt, Phil hurried behind him as soon as he hit it.
He was able to make the putt he needed to (nearly) win his first green jacket thanks to his strategy. What’s the takeaway here?
When attempting to read the green, it is always a good idea to ask your playing companions for advice. You should take notes from them if their putt is even slightly comparable to yours.
10. Break Long Putts Up
The final rule for reading the green is to divide up long putts into many reads. If you’re putting over slopes and varying levels, you should expect your putts to break in a variety of directions.
11. When putting, you should not be scared to divide the hole into many shots
Look at the general shape of the green – is it mostly straight, curved, or undulating
The shape of the green can tell you a lot about the course layout and the type of shots you’ll be playing. A straight green is relatively easy to hit, and is often used on shorter holes where accuracy is more important than distance. A curved green presents a more challenging shot, as it requires the ball to land in a specific spot in order to stay on the green.
Undulating greens are the most difficult to hit, as they have many raised and lowered areas that can cause the ball to roll off the green if you’re not careful. While all three types of greens have their own challenges, they all require a different approach in order to hit the ball close to the hole.
By understanding the characteristics of each type of green, you can better plan your shots and give yourself a better chance of hitting a successful putt.
12. Consider the speed of the green – is it fast, medium, or slow
Golfers know that the speed of the green is critical to their game. A fast green means that the ball will roll quickly and require more precision to stay on target. A slow green, on the other hand, gives the ball more time to slow down and allows for a more relaxed approach.
But what many people don’t realize is that the speed of the green can also have an effect on their score. Studies have shown that golfers tend to score lower on faster greens, while they are more likely to make mistakes on slower greens. As a result, it is important to consider the speed of the green when choosing a course.
A slower green may be more forgiving, but it may also be less challenging. Ultimately, it is up to the individual golfer to decide what pace is right for them.
13. Look at the break on the green – will the ball roll to the left or right of the cup
Any serious golfer knows that the key to a successful game is reading the greens. This means taking into account the contours of the land, the speed of the wind, and the direction of the sun.
But perhaps the most important factor in predicting the path of a golf ball is the break.
The break is the term used to describe the tendency of a ball to roll in one direction or another due to the slope of the green.
By carefully observing the break, a golfer can make an educated guess as to which way the ball will roll and adjust their shot accordingly. So next time you’re on the green, take a close look at the break and see if you can predict where the ball will end up.
By understanding the basic principles of how to read a green, you can make your putts more confidently and with greater accuracy. While there are many factors that come into play when making a putt, these four considerations will give you a good starting point for reading any green. Practice makes perfect, so get out there on the putting green and start sinking those putts!
Hi, I’m Amber Bruson. I’m a late twenties writer who competed in some local tournaments in Los Angeles while attending college. After graduating, I worked as a teaching pro at two different golf clubs out in California.
In 2016, I won the Club Championship at my home club in L.A. I love golf and I’m a passionate advocate for the sport- I think everyone should give it a try.