Every star golfer needs to be a great putter and to achieve that, one must master the art of reading the greens. Although this might sound like rocket science, especially for novice golfers, any player can perfect the skill of reading the greens with time and practice. Some golfers, like Tiger Woods, rely on their natural abilities of visualization and meditation to chart out a path the ball should follow to reach the hole. Other golfers like Justin Rose and Adam Scott are not so visual and instead depend on a more mechanical approach known as the Aimpoint Method that combines feel and physics to produce consistent reads on the greens. Whatever category of golfer you are, you will find the below tips very helpful to your putting game.
Top 10 Tips and Techniques for Reading Greens
Read The Green as You Approach
Be sure to read your surroundings before you’re close to the hole. As you make your way up the green, please take notice of the slopes, hills, and tiers and picture how your ball will go once you hit it. The more information your brain has about your surroundings, the more clues you’ll have for making the perfect putt.
Start Behind the Putt Always
Once you are on the green, your first move after marking your ball should be to read the putt from behind the hole. To do so effectively, squat down behind the ball and carefully visualize your ball’s path to sink into the hole. Your initial read is often the most accurate, so you should avoid overanalyzing this process.
Use Your Feet
When reading the greens, your feet should guide you on the kind of putt to make. This fact is especially actual in the earlier mentioned Aimpoint Method, where players estimate the slope in their putt using their feet and determine where to aim using their arms and fingers.
Remember Local Rules
Courses are not the same. They come with unique grass types, green designs, and weather conditions, making your speed faster on some and slower on others. Try to inquire about local rules when you visit a new course because what applies to an ocean course, for instance, may not apply to a desert course.
Master The Pace
Your ball’s handling of the various factors on the green relies on your putting pace. Being able to control your speed will directly impact how much your putt breaks. The most important thing here is to know your playing style and cater speed to each putt because some require more speed than others.
Learn To Read the Grain
Grain is an essential part of green reading, and players should be keen to spot any changes in the grass color. A down grain putt is where the grass is laying in the direction where the putt heads and presents a putting surface lighter in color, resulting in a faster speed than usual. A darker putting surface is when the grass lays towards your line, indicating that your putt is into the grain and will be slower.
Establish and Stick to A Routine
Your routine is your wingman in golf, and an excellent putting routine is crucial to succeeding in reading the greens. A simple routine is best where you read from behind the hole, commit to your line before the putt and execute the perfect shot.
Learn From Others
Although you might be the highest-ranking golfer on the course, you can benefit a lot by watching how other players play. The behavior of another player’s putt might give you an idea of the green and the slope and help you avoid mistakes.
Break Long Putts into Multiple Segments
If you are facing a long putt, break it into multiple reads to avoid blunders, especially when going over different tiers and slopes. Not every putt breaks in the same direction, so having multiple segments might help.
Try Green Reading Gadgets, Apps, and Books
Lastly, there are tons of green-reading gadgets and books that you can utilize to improve your skills. Sample gadgets include the BreakMaster Digital Golf Putting Green Reader and the Sure Putt Lite Golf Green Reader. You can also install green reading apps on your phone, such as the Putt Line app by GolfLogix or the Golf Scope AR app. A green reading book like Dave Pelz’s Putting Bible can do the trick for book lovers.
As you might have realized above, reading the greens is not rocket science as some novice golfers tend to think. It’s a skill that one can learn over time with hard work and practice. To become a pro golfer, perfecting your putting game is a must, and hopefully, this article sets you on the path to becoming the next master of reading the greens.