Read­ing greens helps to put things right

Isis Town and Country - - Sport - By PAUL MCCAR­RAGHER

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

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