JIM MCLEAN

You study a green care­fully, but badly mis­read a putt

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents -

Don’t let your eyes play tricks when read­ing greens.

You ab­so­lutely know that your putt will break a few cen­time­tres to the right.You line up per­fectly, make a good stroke, and then watch as the ball rolls and breaks as you thought, but . . . to the left! How’s that pos­si­ble? Turns out, read­ing greens in­volves more than just see­ing the slope. First, your eyes can play tricks on you.You might be star­ing so in­tently at a small area on the putting sur­face that you don’t no­tice the big­ger pic­ture, how the en­tire green is con­toured and ori­ented. Sec­ond, wind can play a role – es­pe­cially on a gusty day.And let’s not for­get, mis-hit­ting the ball out on the toe or on the heel of the put­ter might pro­duce an em­bar­rass­ing miss, too.

Another com­mon fac­tor for why a putt breaks in the op­po­site di­rec­tion than you thought is grain.The way the blades of grass lie on the putting sur­face can make the ball roll faster or slower, or pull it left or right. Check to see if the grass on the putting line looks shiny or dull. Shiny in­di­cates the grass is ly­ing away from you, which will make the ball roll faster and move more in that di­rec­tion. Can’t tell if it’s shiny or dull? Then look at the edge of the cup.The side that looks burned out is the di­rec­tion the grain runs. Fac­tor that into your read.

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