Reading Greens -Part II

At this point you have a good understanding of the slope and how the ball is going to roll. Your goal now is to Pick Out a Spot that you are going to aim towards and how much speed is going to be needed.putting-lesson-reading-greens-diagram-1

Choosing Your Spot

Although you have a mental picture of the putt breaking in some direction, you now want to …THINK ABOUT YOUR PUTT as a STRAIGHT LINE. By thinking about your putt as a straight line you are actually simplifying the task at hand. Remember the slope of the green is what is going to make the ball curve not your stroke.
• Choose an imaginary spot past the point as to where the ball will break.
• This is where you will be lining up your putt towards.
• Now it is a judgment decision as to how much speed you need to apply to the ball

It is very impoputting-lesson-reading-greens-diagram-2rtant to align your body to this imaginary straight target line and also have your putter head square to the ball.

Also, one of the most common mistakes golfers do is that they under estimate the break. After you have an idea as to how the ball will break it is best to slightly over play it.

Your spot to aim for and speed is a judgment decision based on the angle and the degree of the slope and all of the factors you have considered up to this point.

Other final factors to consider are the general conditions of the green, such as, is the grass cut short or dried out or any morning dew .

Let us walk through three examples that will better illustrate the thought process of Choosing your Spot and Determining Speed.


Straight Flat Putt with No Slope or Breakputting-lesson-reading-green-diagram-a

For this example will assume this is a 10 foot putt with no break and our target line is perfectly flat.
Our spot we are aiming for (the blue circle on our diagram) is about six inches directly past the hole. 
So we are going to apply a long enough length in our putter stroke, ie speed to the ball, as if we are making a ten and half foot putt. 
The reason for the extra six inches is make sure we do not come up short. If we do miss we are only left with a tap in.


Straight Uphill Putt with No Break golf_reading-greens-diagram_c

Now our putting distance in this example is still 10 feet but we are putting directly uphill with no break to account for.
Based on the slope of the hill we have estimated that in order to make it up the hill we would have to hit the ball with the same speed we would for a 12 foot putt that was on a perfectly flat lie.
So now we line up and make the same stroke we would for a 12 foot putt. We have our spot and our distance is the amount of speed we need for a 12 foot putt.


Straight Uphill Putt that Breaks Right

Now in our final example we still have a 10 foot putt uphill but our hill rises from left to right leaving us with a putt that is going to break right. putting-lesson-reading-green-diagram-c
We are going to move our imaginary spot over to the left to account for the break. The amount of speed we are going to apply is the same as if we were making a 12 foot putt. 
The only thing we are adding to our putt from the previous example is shifting the spot we are aiming for and therefore our target line. 
When we line up our putt we want to be parallel to this imaginary target line ( the yellow line in our diagram). At this point all we are making is a straight 12 foot putt. 
The hill will keep the ball from going 12 feet and as the ball loses speed towards the last few feet the slope will cause it to roll right.
What we have just done is take an uphill putt with a slope that rises left to right and simplified it into a straight putt.
In short, all our analyses of reading the green is going to come down to choosing the spot we need to aim towards and apply enough speed to the ball to get it there.

Think about your Putt as a Straight Line. By thinking about your putt as a straight line you are actually simplifying the task at hand. Remember the contour of the green is what is going to make the ball curve not your stroke.


Continue to Next Lesson…… Curing Problems & Additional Tips