How To Read Golf Greens When Putting

Learning how to read golf greens when putting is almost as important to becoming a good putter as having a sound putting stroke. Many golfers are mystified by the process of reading greens. Others don’t bother trying to learn. They just hit the putt and hope. A whole other group of players spend so much time reading putts that by the time they hit the ball they are paralyzed by too much information. It’s not necessary to make reading greens into such a complex task. By using a few basic techniques along with employing a consistent routine of examining the green prior to putting, you will gain confidence and hole more putts.

  1. Study the green as you walk up to it. When you are 25 yards away, get an idea of the shape of the green and how the green slopes between your ball and the hole. Looking at the green from this distance can help you spot areas of slope that you might not see as clearly when you are standing by your ball.
  2. Learn how to judge the grain. One tip on how to read golf greens when putting is to check the grain of the green, which means the direction the grass grows. The direction changes during the day as the sun moves. In the late afternoon, the grass usually grows toward the sun. If you are putting against the grain, the putt will be slower, meaning you have to hit it more firmly. A putt going with the grain is faster.
  3. Take a view of the hole from four angles. Walk behind the hole and look back toward your ball. Make a determination of the slope and how it will affect the path of the ball. Do the same thing from each side of the hole. Now go back to your ball and look. A good technique to learn how to read golf greens when putting is to use this four angle approach to identify subtle breaks in the green.
  4. Let your feet help you read the break. We can feel whether we are walking uphill or downhill and how severe the slope is on the putting surface. Use this information in your measurement of how the putt will break.  
  5. Avoid being fixated on break. Golfers have a tendency to work so hard on trying to measure how the ball will curve as it approaches the hole that they forget what they have learned about how long the putt is. They usually leave the putt short as a result. After you line up the putter, think about the distance one last time before hitting the ball. It doesn’t benefit you to learn how to read golf greens when putting if you forget to hit the ball hard enough.    
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