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robertson153

Reading a green?

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I found that I subconsciously aim at the spot I think the ball should start. So when I then consciously add so many inches right or left to that spot, I was missing by that many inches.

 

It's a simple test. Just read the putt from behind the ball, envision where the ball will enter the hole. Then set up to what feels right. Then focus on speed. If this doesn't improve your putting then you can spend all the time with other methods.

 

 

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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.

I pick a spot right beside the hole, so the only way it rolls over that spot is if I put to much speed on it. It's not like I'm leaving huge 2nd putts. In the tournament I played in this weekend I only 3 putted 3-4 times, and had to putt everything out, no gimmies. I don't know maybe I shouldn't complain, 32 putts yesterday with no 3 putts, maybe it's not as bad as I think.

 

 

Blake

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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.

This is so important.

 

If you can become "semi-automatic" (let's say 90%) on four footers with some break (enough that you must start them outside the hole, you will develop a feel for how speed and line interact on a putt. You'll also start developing your own putting style (die it in the hole vs. 18" past vs. take the low line and jam it in or miss 3 feet past) that will work for you.

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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.

That's a good post. I usually try to just let the ball fall in, not 12-18” by if it misses. And another good point 90% of the greens around here are bent grass. So do you think it'll help to look at the green before I ever step a foot on it? I think it would, and to be honest I've never really done that. That goes with what you were saying about the natural terrain. All good advice. Thanks for the input.

 

 

Blake

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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.

 

If a good percentage of your putts pass "just to the left or right of the cup" and you still have a lot of 3-putts, it sounds like you're hitting the putt well past the hole.  Its pretty important to get the speed right to minimize 3-putts.  One suggestion, try to die every single putt (over about 10 feet) at the hole, don't worry about trying to roll the ball past the hole by a couple feet.

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If a good percentage of your putts pass "just to the left or right of the cup" and you still have a lot of 3-putts, it sounds like you're hitting the putt well past the hole. Its pretty important to get the speed right to minimize 3-putts. One suggestion, try to die every single putt (over about 10 feet) at the hole, don't worry about trying to roll the ball past the hole by a couple feet.

Also best advice I've ever received unless you know you're 100% going to drain it, miss small so the worst you have is a tap in 2 putt

 

 

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I pick a spot right beside the hole, so the only way it rolls over that spot is if I put to much speed on it. It's not like I'm leaving huge 2nd putts. In the tournament I played in this weekend I only 3 putted 3-4 times, and had to putt everything out, no gimmies. I don't know maybe I shouldn't complain, 32 putts yesterday with no 3 putts, maybe it's not as bad as I think.

 

 

Blake

First of all... congratulations on getting to 500 posts!!  Keep it up!

 

So, you don't leave huge 2nd putts, but you 3-putted 3-4 times in a tournament this weekend? What's a huge 2nd putt?  3-putting should be a rarity.  If you only do it during a tournament, then it seems like the added pressure is causing an uncertainly in your putting stroke.  Lots of good advice here, but it seems to me that more practice getting long putts to tap-in range, and getting a higher percentage of 3-4 footers in the hole is in order.  Practicing getting long putts close to the hole will also lead to more long putts made.  Put some pressure on the practice putts.  Once they become automatic, the uncertainty in your stroke will be gone.  BTW, 32 putts with no 3-putts is not bad... could be better, but not bad.  

 

And by all means, look at the green and the surrounding terrain as you approach the green.  Find the fall line, where water will drain off.  It helps reading the speed and break.  I live in the Pacific Northwest and many courses have severe mountain slope effect.  I don't putt nearly as well when I travel as I do at my home course.  I don't expect to, unless I have a lot of time to practice on their greens or play multiple rounds there.  

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First of all... congratulations on getting to 500 posts!! Keep it up!

 

So, you don't leave huge 2nd putts, but you 3-putted 3-4 times in a tournament this weekend? What's a huge 2nd putt? 3-putting should be a rarity. If you only do it during a tournament, then it seems like the added pressure is causing an uncertainly in your putting stroke. Lots of good advice here, but it seems to me that more practice getting long putts to tap-in range, and getting a higher percentage of 3-4 footers in the hole is in order. Practicing getting long putts close to the hole will also lead to more long putts made. Put some pressure on the practice putts. Once they become automatic, the uncertainty in your stroke will be gone. BTW, 32 putts with no 3-putts is not bad... could be better, but not bad.

 

And by all means, look at the green and the surrounding terrain as you approach the green. Find the fall line, where water will drain off. It helps reading the speed and break. I live in the Pacific Northwest and many courses have severe mountain slope effect. I don't putt nearly as well when I travel as I do at my home course. I don't expect to, unless I have a lot of time to practice on their greens or play multiple rounds there.

That was an estimate, when you have a 50 footer the chances of 3 putting are pretty likely. 2 of them that I remember were sidewinders under 4' that I tried to take the break out of it by ramming it in the back of the cup. But lipped out and then proceeded to slingshot farther than my original putt. You have to remember this was a tournament where pin placements where pretty tricky and the stimpmeter was pushing 12(greens were rolled at least 2 times both mornings)

 

 

Blake

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What type of grass are you playing on? It is very different reading greens that are bent grass, from Bermuda, or Poa Annua.

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What type of grass are you playing on? It is very different reading greens that are bent grass, from Bermuda, or Poa Annua.

Almost all the greens in my area are bent.

 

 

Blake

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With bent grass you don't have to worry about grain so much. What you see is generally what you get. If you can see which way it breaks, you should be able to find a line, and just try to match the speed with that line, with any breaking putt it's about matching your speed with your chosen line, do you want the bull to go in with pace, play less break, if you want the ball to fall into the hole you adjust the line and play more break. For me it's about figuring out the speed of the greens, and then picking my line based on what I think the speed will be for that putt. Since you are only missing by a small amount, it could be a speed versus line issue.

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Green reading is a skill that can be developed.  Aim point, plumb-bobing, finding the fall line, etc. are techniques golfers use to read greens.  Regardless of the technique used, the skill has to be worked on to improve.

 

Unfortunately, many golfers don't really practice reading greens in a meaningful, constructive way.  They hit a putt which breaks two inches left when they thought it would break two inches right.  They shrug, know they misread it, but they don't examine it again to see why they misread it.  On the practice green, they will hit multiple putts to the hole, adjusting to a misread by changing speed or line, but not take the time reread the putt.  

 

A first step to improving is to re-read a putt that was misread.  Step back, look at the green and ask what didn't I see there?  Trace the line of the putt with your eyes to see the break.   If alone, one can go through their entire pre-shot routine and green read and then hit another putt on the correct line.  In a group, tap in and go back and reread the putt while the others finish out or walk off the green.  (Subject to proper etiquette on the course, of course).   

 

When practicing, go through your routine, hit the putt and watch the line carefully.  Then re-read, again with full routine, making the necessary adjustment.  Examine the green carefully to see the line and why the putt acted differently than you though.  Rinse and repeat on different slopes, different lengths and speeds.  

 

On the practice green, hit three putts from the same spot.  Full routine and green read with each putt.  Hit one to die at the hole, one to go just past the hole if missed and jam one in hard.  If you misread any of the three, re-read and do again.    

 

I guess the point here is to understand a misread and correct the read and learn so you don't misread next time.   

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Don't know if it was the advice or just my day but I had 27 putts!! Main reason IMO I'm starting to trust my line. Sunk some good putts, a few from over 10'. Which is good in my book. Thanks again for everyone's help.

 

 

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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

Believe it or not, video games help tremendously! Worked for me, too! As well as other FPS where you calculate bullet trajectory.

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On days like today, I had just 22 putts with 2 chip in, it is like I see a 3” wide line or brighter stripe on the green curving to the hole. It is just my imagination but I know all I have to do is hit it the right speed on that line and it will go in.

 

Now my wedges were very good today so most of my 1 putts were 3-8 feet. So that sorta pads the stats.

 

I have tried the Aim Point system and plumb bobbing and various other things, but for me, I line up straight behind the ball and imagine where the ball will roll if I hit it straight at the hole. Then move the imaginary line until the imaginary ball goes into the hole. Then, as you stated “trust your read”.

 

Sure you will misread some. But if your speed is good then it's just a tap in. And if you are not sure if it will go left or right then hit it straight.

 

Oh yeah, I worked on my wedges three days this week and that drastically improved your putting. Especially if you can roll it right by the hole and give yourself a free read. I did that a bunch today.

 

 

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I will clarify this by saying it does depend on the course and greens, but what I've learned from my home course is to not overread the greens. As soon as I started that I my putts started dropping. When I walk up to the out I take one good look at it and decide what I believe it's going to do. Setup and make the putt.

If I'm really unsure of what I'm seeing I'll stand around the line and see what my feet tell me. They haven't let me down so far, but from what I have found is if I stare at the putt and think about it too long nothing good happens. Too many thoughts and decisions get made and I loose focus on that initial thought of what I saw.

 

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I have tried the Aim Point system and plumb bobbing and various other things, but for me, I line up straight behind the ball and imagine where the ball will roll if I hit it straight at the hole. Then move the imaginary line until the imaginary ball goes into the hole. Then, as you stated “trust your read”.

 

 

This is why systems like aimpoint don't work for you.  You need to see the imaginary line the ball is rolling on.  Aimpoint has you aim left or right of the hole.  

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Simple ways to start reading puts better. If you want to make it simple just start from behind the ball. Get a good distance behind maybe like 4-10 feet so your not just sitting right over top of the ball. From behind the ball now look for the high point or the highest point of slope in the middleish point of the putt. That will give you an idea where to aim. That would be a basic start, my next step then is to use your eyes and imagine the ball over that line. Like keep going through it like you see tigerwoods tracer from the video game (this takes time a focus to learn to imagine the break) next what I find the best help in finding where to hit a putt is looking and imagining how the ball would roll in like 3 feet from the hole. Basically look and the break and slope and try to roll it to where it would hit that 3 foot spot to go in. A consistent stroke though really is important to making any Putts.

 

Hope this helps even though its very long winded

 

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Aimpoint. It's ridiculously easy, it's the fastest way to read the green so people behind you aren't waiting on you to pretend you're on tour and read it from all 4 sides, and the reads will be correct unless you don't do them correctly.

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On days like today, I had just 22 putts with 2 chip in, it is like I see a 3” wide line or brighter stripe on the green curving to the hole. It is just my imagination but I know all I have to do is hit it the right speed on that line and it will go in.

 

Now my wedges were very good today so most of my 1 putts were 3-8 feet. So that sorta pads the stats.

 

I have tried the Aim Point system and plumb bobbing and various other things, but for me, I line up straight behind the ball and imagine where the ball will roll if I hit it straight at the hole. Then move the imaginary line until the imaginary ball goes into the hole. Then, as you stated “trust your read”.

 

Sure you will misread some. But if your speed is good then it's just a tap in. And if you are not sure if it will go left or right then hit it straight.

 

Oh yeah, I worked on my wedges three days this week and that drastically improved your putting. Especially if you can roll it right by the hole and give yourself a free read. I did that a bunch today.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using MyGolfSpy

Last summer I was having a really good putting day and I commented to my friend that it was like I was seeing a video game tracer showing me where to hit the ball. I made a lot (for me) of longish putts that day. It was great, but hasn't happened since.

 

One thing I hate is when my eyes tell me one thing, then I stand over the ball and feel conflicting info with my feet.

 

Sent from my BLN-L24 using MyGolfSpy mobile app

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