Reading Greens When Playing Golf

When you think about getting better at putting, you probably are most-concerned with improving the technical aspects of your stroke to get the ball on line more consistently. However, reading greens correctly is just as important as making a good stroke – after all, if the read is wrong, it won’t matter if you have made a good stroke or not, because the putt will still miss. Reading greens correctly is something of an art, but you can get better at it with some helpful tips and quality practice time.

Use the tips below to start working on your green reading ability –

  • See all angles. Most golfers look at their upcoming putt from behind the ball, but often that is where they stop. It is just as helpful to look at your putt from the other end, as well as the sides, before picking the line you think is best. Of course, you don’t want to slow up play while you are reading the putt, so try to make your read while others are putting so that you are ready to go when it is your turn.
  • Check the grain. If your play on grass that is designed to stand up to hot summer temperatures, like Bermuda, then you might need to concern yourself with the grain as well as the slope of the green itself. As a general rule of thumb, if the grass looks shiny from where you are standing, you are looking in the same direction that the grain is running. If the grass looks dull, you are looking into the grain. The ball will want to move in the same direction as the grain of the grass, so factor that into your read. Different greens will have different amounts of influence from the grain, so get a feel for it on the practice green before hitting the course.
  • Pay attention around the hole. Obviously, your golf ball should be slowing down as it reaches the hole – therefore, it will be more affected by the slope of the green near the hole then near where you are putting from. Pay specific attention to the slopes around the hole, and give them more consideration then the ground around where the ball currently sits. You still need to read the whole putt, but usually the last few feet of the roll are really when the ball will start to be influenced the most by the slope of the green.