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Reading a green?


robertson153
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There has been several threads on here about putting, most have been about speed and line. I'm not having a problem with speed or my line, I just can't seem to read the dang thing right. It's not like I'm off 2-3 ft, it usually around 6-10 inches. Is there a special trick or an easy way to read a green? I've tried the “putter bob” looking at it from the other side and side view. At my home course I'm not that bad just because I play it 3-5 days a week and pretty much know what's going to happen. It's when I go somewhere new I just guessing.

BTW this is my 500th post!!

 

 

Blake

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I'd like to hear input on this as well.

 

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Maybe I'm just fortunate in this arena, but I find that keeping it simple works best for me. I only look at the hole from behind the ball, pick out an intermediate target (depending on the distance) and putt. I've tried looking at the hole from different angles, but it just seems to complicate things too much for me. I do sometimes take mental note of what else the green might do while walking around to repair a pitch mark or pull the flag, but that's pretty much it.

 

Many golf psychologists and coaches talk about reacting to the target as you would in pretty much any other sport and that's the approach I take. I don't even take practice strokes most of the time (like 98%) and putting is the strongest part of my game - putting handicap on Arccos is +3.3 currently.

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One thing I've done for a long time when reading greens is try to visualize the arc of the ball as it rolls, picturing speed and curve until I "imagine" one line/speed combination that just feels right.  However, I recently took an Aimpoint clinic.  Essentially, Aimpoint teaches you to feel just how much sloe is there based on your feet.  Most people can really feel and distinguish gradations in slope pretty effectively.  Aimpoint then provides a tool to turn that slope reading into a line by holding up fingers, you've seen Adam Scott and Lydia Ko do that.  For me, its been effective, my green-reading has improved, especially on new courses.

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For me personally I visualize the ball between two tracks on the way to the hole. This way the ball can never get off line and it follows the tracks. You have to mentally aim small. Pick a blade of grass at the back of the cup and visualize the ball riding the track all the way to that blade of grass. The mind is a powerful thing and when you can do this it works wonders.

 

I struggle with this almost every round. It takes a great amount of concentration and when you play your home course it can be hard to focus like that for the 5 seconds. But you have to try it and I bet you will see results

 

 

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Multiple ways to read putts and based on you post you are getting the direction correct. If the direction is correct you would start to look at speed and line over time on different breaking putts. Do you miss both directions of break the same?

 

As someone mentioned you could try aimpoint, it is based on math formulas on how much a putt will break based on the greens slope and speed.

 

Many people try to read a putt by how much you should aim left or right of the hole.

 

Another way is to visualize the curve if the putt or the path it will take to the hole.

 

In the end it becomes experience about seeing the slope and knowing speed of greens. The more you putt the more you will be able to predict the break. That is why you do best on your home course, you play it all the time

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There has been several threads on here about putting, most have been about speed and line. I'm not having a problem with speed or my line, I just can't seem to read the dang thing right. It's not like I'm off 2-3 ft, it usually around 6-10 inches. Is there a special trick or an easy way to read a green? I've tried the “putter bob” looking at it from the other side and side view. At my home course I'm not that bad just because I play it 3-5 days a week and pretty much know what's going to happen. It's when I go somewhere new I just guessing.

BTW this is my 500th post!!

 

 

Blake

I'd like to hear more about the topic as well. A good portion of my putts end up just to the left or right of the cup which results in a 3 putt for the hole. FYI I was fitted for my putter, and yes I've had a putting lesson as recently as last week.

 

 

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Multiple ways to read putts and based on you post you are getting the direction correct. If the direction is correct you would start to look at speed and line over time on different breaking putts. Do you miss both directions of break the same?

 

As someone mentioned you could try aimpoint, it is based on math formulas on how much a putt will break based on the greens slope and speed.

 

Many people try to read a putt by how much you should aim left or right of the hole.

 

Another way is to visualize the curve if the putt or the path it will take to the hole.

 

In the end it becomes experience about seeing the slope and knowing speed of greens. The more you putt the more you will be able to predict the break. That is why you do best on your home course, you play it all the time

I miss both high and low. When I look at a putt that's going to break left or right I try to see how far outside the cup it needs to be. I may look at a putt and say “I think this one needs to be 6” right of the cup” sometimes it enough sometimes it's not. I do agree with experience counts the most, I can tell the more I play the better it's getting(I've only been playing a few years now)

 

 

Blake

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No, that's not clear enough. It's not clear at all.

Because if you hit a putt exactly where you intended at the exact speed you intended and it doesn't go in IT'S BECAUSE YOU MIS-READ THE GREEN. #duh

 

Holy crap. you need to calm down.

People like you, and your unreasonable expectations and poor attitudes, are why more experienced posters and instructors stay off forums like this. ... And don't worry, I won't respond to another one of your threads because I don't have time for nonsense.

But here's a parting tip - if you're having trouble with your game, pay for lessons!

I don't know what unreasonable expectations I have. Calm down from what? I just said don't post unless you're going to be constructive. And I don't know if you read the title of this thread or not but it's about reading the green. Not line and speed #duh

 

 

Blake

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A question, then some suggestions.

 

How long are the putts that you're missing by 6-10 inches?

 

My depth perception is not great due to glaucoma in my right eye. So I pace off my putts to help with speed. What I've noticed is that I can feel the line with my feet as well. That's helped me greatly.

 

For practice, figure out where your one-putt and three-putt distances are, then work on extending those by a foot. If you're automatic from two feet but start missing at three, practice three footers until you're automatic from there. If you start three putting at 20 feet, practice 20 footers until you two putt everything from there. Don't waste time practicing 12 foot putts. You're unlikely to make them, and you're unlikely to three putt them as well. If you can push your one putt and three putt ranges back by a foot, your putting stats will improve.

 

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I miss both high and low. When I look at a putt that's going to break left or right I try to see how far outside the cup it needs to be. I may look at a putt and say “I think this one needs to be 6” right of the cup” sometimes it enough sometimes it's not. I do agree with experience counts the most, I can tell the more I play the better it's getting(I've only been playing a few years now)

 

 

Blake

When you say that the ball is going to be X distance from the hole, do you generally roll the ball over that spot at the hole? You mind may be actually trying to hit that spot. When I Identify a spot left, right, long, or short of the hole, that is more often than not where my ball seems to go. For me thinking about the balls path works better. Learning how you proceed the information you are getting is key to better green reading.

 

Also, If as you indicated rolling on you line and at desired speed you aren't leaving yourself long second putts. Additionally most people have higher expectations on making putts than they will actually make. Remember the 50% line for PGA players is about 8 feet.

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. And I don't know if you read the title of this thread or not but it's about reading the green. Not line and speed #duh

 

Keep in mind that unless you can control speed and line then you won't be able to read greens very well. So it is a reasonable question. If you cannot start the ball on your intended line, it is impossible to tell if the miss is the result of a mishit or a bad read.

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Here is some additional food for thought on reading greens.

 

http://puttertalk.com/community/index.php?PHPSESSID=9pj1mqnm1d2h5pcbr64263b792&topic=47324.msg440218#msg440218

 

There are other interesting posts in that thread but it explains different approaches. Some of the other posts address putter alignment aids.

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There has been several threads on here about putting, most have been about speed and line. I'm not having a problem with speed or my line, I just can't seem to read the dang thing right. It's not like I'm off 2-3 ft, it usually around 6-10 inches. Is there a special trick or an easy way to read a green? I've tried the “putter bob” looking at it from the other side and side view. At my home course I'm not that bad just because I play it 3-5 days a week and pretty much know what's going to happen. It's when I go somewhere new I just guessing.

BTW this is my 500th post!!

 

 

Blake

So many things go into reading a green, it's hard to pinpoint any one that would result in a miss of just 6-10". The type of miss can help diagnose the cause as well. 6-10" off in distance is different than 6-10" off in line. The type of putt matters too. On a 30 foot, big breaking putt, 6-10" (wide or long) is a great putt; not so much on a flat 12 footer.

 

Lots of good input on getting a basic read. I like to visualize an arc from behind the ball when I settle into the putt. Prior to that, especially on an unfamiliar course, I take a little extra time (but try for not too much) to assess the green. Things I look at: the natural downhill of the green complex, where is the intended water runoff, and type of grass and grain.  

 

The natural downhill is sometimes worth that 6-10" you are looking for. I play almost exclusively in Florida now, but have experience in areas with more natural elevation changes. Course designers are able to deceive your eye with mounding and such on the green so that the break looks either opposite of or more severe than the natural down slope of the terrain. You get the feel for those on the 'home course' that you play most often. Locals at an unfamiliar course may have tidbits like 'all putts break away from the mountain'. To get a read yourself, take a look at the overall green complex as you approach and see which way the natural terrain slopes. Then take the time to look at the putt from both sides of the hole.

 

The type of grass and grain can also create a similar miss distance. Bent grass varieties tend to roll a little faster and more true than Bermudas or Bermuda hybrids. The Bermuda and Bermuda Hybrid grass blades lay down sideways as they grow creating a 'grain' to the grass that influences the speed and path of the putts. One quick way to check the grain is to look at the hole. The downgrain side of the hole will look rougher as the grass 'grows' away from the hole. Another way is to assess how the grass looks from different angles; behind the ball, behind the hole, and the low side of the line of putt. Looking into the grain the grass will look dull, looking down grain the grass will look shiny. If your line of putt goes along the grain it will be faster with the grain and slower against. When your putt slopes with the grain it will break more, and against the grain will break less.

 

Of course the magnitude of the break and read is all dependent on your putting style - dying the ball into the hole usually means play more break than putting to 17" past Dave Pelz style.

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One thing I've done for a long time when reading greens is try to visualize the arc of the ball as it rolls, picturing speed and curve until I "imagine" one line/speed combination that just feels right.  However, I recently took an Aimpoint clinic.  Essentially, Aimpoint teaches you to feel just how much sloe is there based on your feet.  Most people can really feel and distinguish gradations in slope pretty effectively.  Aimpoint then provides a tool to turn that slope reading into a line by holding up fingers, you've seen Adam Scott and Lydia Ko do that.  For me, its been effective, my green-reading has improved, especially on new courses.

This is my approach to putting. I also did a Aimpoint express clinic a while back and use it a lot. Just need to trust your feet and not your eyes.

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...

(..lots of good stuff snipped..)

...

 

Of course the magnitude of the break and read is all dependent on your putting style - dying the ball into the hole usually means play more break than putting to 17" past Dave Pelz style.

 

Was gonna ask that question.. are you generally more of a"die it at the hole" putter?

 

If so, then in addition to your initial read you may also want to pay extra attention to what it looks like from a foot and in to the hole on your line ... eg. are the edges of the cup raised, is there a foot print depression, is there an unseen bump, whatever that may influence your ball relatively more as it travels the slowest coming into the cup...

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Biggest thing that helped me was the old EA Sports PGA tour. How the greens would show little white dots on a grid. I just picture that grid and what would the dots do. Or imagine dumping a box of marbles and where they would roll out

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dont know if this will help but after looking at the putt from both sides (quickly) I envisage what  putting the ball directly at the hole will do, i.e break left or right and by how much, then  I compensate accordingly.

 

 

/Disclaimer...I am a bad stroke putter (loop and cut across the line with an open face, according to SAMM putt lab last week) but I am good at reading the line.

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I would highly suggest taking an Aimpoint Express class. 

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