Ever hit a putt you thought was going in only to have it drift wide right? If you have, chances are you misread the green. Reading greens takes skill, good judgment, and experience. Since there’s no formula for determining the direction a ball must start based on the slope of the green and the distance to the hole, reading greens is key to sinking more putts. And sinking more putts in one or two shots produces a lower golf handicap all round.
Let’s talk about ball speed for a second. Ball speed is critical in putting. The factors affecting speed are (1) the type of grass you’re putting on, (2) the direction the grass is growing, and (3) the moisture of the grass. Wet greens tend to slow a ball down. Fast greens tend to drift the ball away from the hole.
Reading a green correctly—accounting for how these factors affect your putt— helps you determine not only the speed of a putt but also the direction. To sharpen your skill at this technique, we 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’ve may have misread the green.
Whilst experience contributes greatly to reading a green correctly, I also recommend that you keep the following in mind as you approach a green:
In addition, here’s a few other putting tips: Watch 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 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 the ball as does dampness. So factor these elements in. A ball rolls a lot slower on wet grass than on dry grass.
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. And doing that will lower your golf handicap.
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