Reading greens helps to put things right
least a chance of rolling in. And it doesn’t roll as far away from the hole on the high side as it does on the low.
In addition, a strong wind affects the speed and direction of a putt as does the moisture of the green so factor these elements in.
Finally, watch the ball if it goes by the hole. Don’t turn away in anger.
There’s little feedback before and during a putt so you can’t check your reading accuracy until after you hit the ball.
Key questions you need to ask yourself are:
Did it have the right direction?
Did it have the right speed?
Did it have the right on line?
Answering these questions is crucial to improving your ability to read greens and sink more putts.
More than anything, practice is the key and once again I remind the players of the old adage “drive for show but putt for dough”.
Next week: Getting out of the Sand Trap. growing; and
The moisture of the grass. Wet greens tend to slow a ball down. Fast greens tend to drift the ball away from the hole.
Remember if the ball doesn’t reach the hole it will never go in so a little extra is always better than leaving the putt an inch short.
Reading a green correctly and accounting for how these factors affect your putt will help you determine not only the required speed of a putt but also the direction.
To sharpen your putting, I recommend developing a green-reading routine.
Let’s look at the putting sequence before getting into specifics.
First, your subconscious mind absorbs all the factors affecting ball speed and direction.
Next, you decide how hard and where to hit the ball. Then, you putt. You judge the accuracy of your read by watching the putt.
If it goes in, you’ve read the green correctly. If it goes by the hole, you may have misread the green. MOST golfers have seen professionals lining up their putts for what seems like an eternity, going to extremes in some cases to get the lie of the land.
What they are doing is looking at the lumps, bumps and slopes that will affect the ball as they propel it towards the cup.
Every nuance of a green surface impacts on how the ball reacts once it has been hit so reading the greens is a must.
If you have followed the simple rules of putting but still the ball ends up in places that it shouldn’t then you are probably not reading the greens correctly.
Some people have a knack for reading greens while others have to avail themselves of whatever they can to get the lie.
Let’s talk about ball speed for a second. Ball speed is critical in putting. The factors affecting speed are:
The type of grass you’re putting on;
The direction the grass is
I recommend that you keep the following in mind as you approach a green:
Start thinking about the line of the putt as you walk to the green. The best view of the green’s slope (whether it slopes to the right or left) is from 20 yards or so away. Standing on the green won’t allow you to assess this.
If the terrain surrounding the green slopes to the right, the green probably slopes to the right. If a green slopes in the opposite direction, it creates a basin that collects water. No self-respecting landscape architect will do that.
Check from the side of the green if you have an uphill or downhill putt. The side-on view provides the best perspective for this and also for determining the speed required. For downhill putts, the low side of the green offers the best perspective for judging the terrain’s slope.
Stand behind the hole to judge the lay of the land around the hole. This area is crucial because a ball loses speed as it nears the hole meaning the terrain can really influence the ball’s direction.
Read the green with your feet. Use your sense of balance to determine the green’s slope. It will also give you clues about the speed for the putt. Stand on the low side to do this.
Stand behind the ball to make a final decision on the putt’s direction and speed.
When you stand above the ball, your perspective changes, as does your impression of the line. Behind the ball is the best place to take a final look.
Once you’ve made the decision, don’t change it.
There are also some other simple tips to help improve your putting.
Watch the roll of another player’s ball, don’t underestimate the break on a putt and pay attention to the influence of the wind and dampness.
Watching another player’s ball, especially if he or she has a similar shot, provides hints on how the ball rolls. Sometimes, it even provides you with a near perfect line.
Also, miss a break on the high side of the hole not the low. That way the ball has at