Green reading

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By Mark F

  • 10 Replies
  1. Mark F

    Mark F
    Greenville, SC

    I am a Titleist player through and through except for my putter. I currently use an Odyssey White Hot #2 blade. The only reason that I don't have a Scotty is that I have a problem spending $400+ for a putter considering I have problems reading greens. I can generally tell if a putt is right to left or left to right but I absolutely can not tell how far left or right I need to start the putt for whatever speed I think I need to hit it. Here's my question. Is there any tip to use to figure out if the putt is one ball, one cup, or one foot outside the hole? Thanks for any help. Fairways and greens.

    Mark F.

  2. Joshua B

    Joshua B

    that may be the problem right there Mark, you are trying to read break by ball and cup measurements (which your partners may do in your foursome) when that math doesn't add up to you. I have a guy I play with do the fingers over the eye test and makes no sense whatsoever to me. Best bet is practice, ensuring you read more break than not to start, as most of us amateurs don't read enough break typically. It sounds like your speed is where it needs to be, so play that strength. Just simply pick a point between you and the hole you want to have it go to straight and then simply let gravity release it the way of the break. May help, hope it does! Best of luck this year
  3. B.A.

    Los Gatos, CA

    Fully agree with Joshua. People putt differently, and you need to find what works best for you and trying to see it the way you are trying to, clearly isn't helping you.

    Go to the practice green and practice as much as you can to develop your mind's ability to read a green in a way that works for you. Use something to line it up, maybe a couple books on each side of your putter, a putting mirror with a groove, one of those stake a string putting setups...

    Hit the putt and when that isn't the right line, move your setup until you are setup correctly.

    Another great drill I like to warm up, if putting 6 balls in a circle around a cup and go around the circle until you make them all in, then move the balls further away at the next go-round. But if you are playing, always end with a putt that goes in.

    Lastly, for me, I don't think about things like one ball outside the cup, whatever unless that is where I am aiming. I pick a spot that I think I should aim to. I pick a path to hit my ball that I feel will break toward the hole and go in. Know the direction you want to hit the ball. That and speed is all you can control.

    Good luck!
  4. Michael JC

    Michael JC
    Orwell, VT

    Joshua B could not have said it better! Comes down to practice, ball speed and feel.
  5. Dwayne N

    Dwayne N
    Island, KY

    Sorry for the lengthy post up front..... Have you tried plumb bob? Stand directly behind the ball inline with the hole, with two fingers hold club by the tip of the grip allowing putter to feely hang by it's own weight if it is inline with hole straight putt if shaft is 6 inches to right of hole putt will break 6 inches left. Line the writing on the ball up to where the shaft lines up on either side of hole then replumb bob making shaft and ball line up now. Then putt with line of putter and ball line lined up if speed is right it will drop. But as Josh said practice, practice

    Hopes this helps sure changed my short game.
  6. Chuck Z

    Chuck Z
    Mt Pleasant, SC

    Have always used the blumb bob method with my putter and seems to work well for me. Of course putting on bermuda greens requires a little extra touch when dealing with grain. Have to learn to calculate that into your reads and speed. That is old school but with a lot of practice it becomes routine and it does work. Regardless of the putter you have lots of practice is necessary to become a good putter. I like the Scotty putters and have two of them. One set up for slower greens and one for faster greens. They each require a different strokes and alignment, but they are effective. Good luck.......
  7. Sam C

    Sam C
    Watertown, NY


    I agree that most of the art of green reading comes down to experience and feel. With that being said though, you can have the perfect read every time but if you don't have the right speed it won't matter. If you can dial in your feel for green speeds then you've already got a fighting chance. Good luck!

    - Sam

  8. Mark F

    Mark F
    Greenville, SC

    Thanks to all that responded. The going thought is more practice, so I will do more of that. I do putt a lot at home and have figured out the break in my living room pretty well, but... I don't think that will help much on the greens. Thanks again. Fairways and greens to all.

    Mark F.
  9. Gabriel G

    Gabriel G
    Cedar Park, TX

    Putting was always my strength. My reasoning was I can't hit a ball 300 yards like a pro but I can make a 10 foot putt like a pro! I love the Odyssey putter, and feel comfortable with it. But get what you feel good to putt and practice and practice. Oh... and practice!
  10. richbow9


    I work purely on feel and try not to over complicate the process. My main focus is speed, pick a line and commit to it. If I miss, then hopefully it's just a tap in.
  11. golfinnut

    Leesburg, VA

    It comes down to feel & speed of the greens. Remember that every putt is a straight one. Read the putt in two parts ... first where is the apex of the putt (where it's going to start to break) then read it from behind the ball to that line ... the line to the apex and not the hole. I see too many people look at the hole on a breaking putt & not Where it's going to break. Most people never borrow enough break. Once you get the speed down, you should start to make more putts. The art of reading a green is a science when you have to factor in so many things (grain, slope, speed, terrain, etc.)
    Also, be sure to put a line on your ball and find a straight putt on the green. Make sure you can hit the ball "cleanly" and make the ball roll straight, end over end multiple times. If you are hitting the ball with either a closed or open face (the ball will wobble), then it's in your mechanics and stroke. So green reading is a mute point until you can fix your stroke.

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