Reading Golf Greens: Ten Tips To Make It Easier

You may be able to drive the golf ball 200+ yards, but if you’re short game is not “up to par” you will have a hard time winning your next match.

Think about it. In a typical round of golf you might use your driver 10-15 times. (Those short par 3 holes most likely require a shorter club.) But you will certainly have your putter in your hand at least 18 times, and if you are a typical golfer, you will more often than not “2-putt” so you might use that putter as many as 36 times in a round of golf.

One sure way to shave strokes off your game, is to lower the number of putting strokes. And you do that by increasing your skill on the greens. Reading greens is perhaps the most difficult part of the golf game that you have to master. Here are a few tips that might help.

  1. Take in the whole picture. As you approach the green from the fairway, look at the entire green, and the general direction of the slope. Does it go from left to right? Right to left? Back to front?
  2. Where is the sun? Grass will always grow towards the sun. If you are putting with the sun behind you, the putt will be going against the “grain” of the grass and will be slower.
  3. Get behind the ball and observe any obstructions or dents to the actual putting surface. Remove and repair what you can.
  4. If you can, observe the surface from a lower angle. The green looks very different knee high than it does from a standing position.
  5. Look for ridges, rolling hills, and imagine a path from your ball to the hole.
  6. Compare the shape of the hole to the horizon line in the distance. Does the hole tilt slightly right to left? Your ball will need to enter the hole towards the right edge. The reverse is true. Or is it a flat shape? In which case, your putt should be aimed straight at the hole.
  7. Once you have determined the proper angle, carefully set up your putter square to where you want the ball to enter the hole: straight on, slightly left, slightly right, whatever you have determined.
  8. Take a practice stroke, or do whatever your routine is. Do not rush.
  9. Do not second guess yourself. If you have set up correctly, trust your instincts. Standing directly over the ball may give you a different view of the hole and you may be tempted to change the angle of your putter. DON’T. Just trust.
  10. Focus on the hole one more time. This is your target. Keep that image in your memory. Then bring your attention back to the ball and putt.

May every hole be a birdie.

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