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How to read greens?

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Is there a secret to green reading? I am a fairly decent putter, my arccos caddie handicap for putting is +1.1 at the moment, and I average around 1.9 putts a hole. Lessons at the moment are not happening in my area nor are practice areas, but I would like information for when things are available to hit the ground running. There is always a couple putts that just get away from me, or I will look at that I just have no idea what it will do, and I just hope to get lucky. As a handicap golfer I am happy with 2 putt and go, but as a golfer I want more birdies and eagles to make my scorecard better. I have seen aimpoint, and has anyone tried it and is it worth trying to find a coach for that? I know they sell a DVD but it had very mixed reviews. I have even considered buying a level and just setting it at different spots on the practice area and training my brain that way. Any helpful tips are much appreciated. 

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I'd recommend finding a certified aimpoint instructor.  Definitely works and is worth the money and time.  

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Is there a secret to green reading? I am a fairly decent putter, my arccos caddie handicap for putting is +1.1 at the moment, and I average around 1.9 putts a hole. Lessons at the moment are not happening in my area nor are practice areas, but I would like information for when things are available to hit the ground running. There is always a couple putts that just get away from me, or I will look at that I just have no idea what it will do, and I just hope to get lucky. As a handicap golfer I am happy with 2 putt and go, but as a golfer I want more birdies and eagles to make my scorecard better. I have seen aimpoint, and has anyone tried it and is it worth trying to find a coach for that? I know they sell a DVD but it had very mixed reviews. I have even considered buying a level and just setting it at different spots on the practice area and training my brain that way. Any helpful tips are much appreciated. 

As Larry just said above, Aimpoint is well worth the money! It changed my putting forever. Do a search for a certified instructor and sign-up. You HAVE to do the class in-person so you can feel what they’re teaching. It would not be worth the money to buy a video of it. I can’t stress enough the necessity of taking the class “live”, on a green, with a certified instructor.


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Thank you @Larryd3 and @PMookie, I was really hoping it was worth it. I am going to try to find an instructor, I wasn’t sure the DVD would be good since it’s more feeling the slope and associating it with a percentage. 

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I'll be number 3 on this particular bandwagon.  You can use the level to "calibrate" yourself, you can learn the procedures from the DVD (I assume), but interaction with a good instructor will be a much better way to learn Aimpoint.  Here's the link to find a local instructor:

https://aimpointgolf.com/findInstructor

 

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10 minutes ago, cjeffs12 said:

Thank you @Larryd3 and @PMookie, I was really hoping it was worth it. I am going to try to find an instructor, I wasn’t sure the DVD would be good since it’s more feeling the slope and associating it with a percentage. 

During the training they get you to various points around a green to get you to feel what a 1 slope is vs a 2/3/4/5 etc. Then, as you do this, you will see how you use knee bend and your foot/shoe to make the read. It’s really cool, and it really works! Good luck! Keep us up-to-date!

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17 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

I'll be number 3 on this particular bandwagon.  You can use the level to "calibrate" yourself, you can learn the procedures from the DVD (I assume), but interaction with a good instructor will be a much better way to learn Aimpoint.  Here's the link to find a local instructor:

https://aimpointgolf.com/findInstructor

 

Thank you, I was looking for this! 


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15 minutes ago, PMookie said:

During the training they get you to various points around a green to get you to feel what a 1 slope is vs a 2/3/4/5 etc. Then, as you do this, you will see how you use knee bend and your foot/shoe to make the read. It’s really cool, and it really works! Good luck! Keep us up-to-date!

Sounds very interesting, and thank you I will

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42 minutes ago, PMookie said:

During the training they get you to various points around a green to get you to feel what a 1 slope is vs a 2/3/4/5 etc. Then, as you do this, you will see how you use knee bend and your foot/shoe to make the read. It’s really cool, and it really works! Good luck! Keep us up-to-date!

This is one of the things that I can't imagine a DVD would do.  Each of us "feels" the green slope differently.  Some like to stand "vertical" and sense the bend in the uphill knee.  Others will stand kind of stiff-kneed, and sense the difference in weight to the right or left foot.  I'll close my eyes for a second and lean a bit left and right, and it feels like I can "fall down" one way and not the other.  A good instructor will help you to find a way to get the correct read.  

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Not text book but it helps me. 

I will usually have a walk round the hole to get a feel for pace. I will then  crouch 6 feet behind the ball and try and get a 1st read, I will then use my hand to just block my sight of the hole and take a 2nd read this usually gives me a more accurate line. I find the hole and in particular any slope behind the hole can cause me to mis-read the putt. 

In the UK we mostly bent grass of fescue so don't really have a grain.

 

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2 hours ago, Alf. S said:

Not text book but it helps me. 

I will usually have a walk round the hole to get a feel for pace. I will then  crouch 6 feet behind the ball and try and get a 1st read, I will then use my hand to just block my sight of the hole and take a 2nd read this usually gives me a more accurate line. I find the hole and in particular any slope behind the hole can cause me to mis-read the putt. 

In the UK we mostly bent grass of fescue so don't really have a grain.

 

I’ve never thought about taking my hand to block out the hole or part of the green. I’ve seen guys on tour do it, but for some reason it never dawned on me to try it on course. I’m going to try to remember that next time I go out. Thank you


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Reading greens is like guessing someones age, its very difficult. I find the more I play the better I get. Its a lot easier when on my home course I know how the greens play. When I play courses I don't often play I struggle like the rest of us, especially if there is shade from a tree on the green. When i'm playing with friends I try to get them to putt first to see the break. If i'm away I'll usually ask someone how they see the break.

 "The more we play the luckier we seem to get"

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7 hours ago, cjeffs12 said:

Is there a secret to green reading? I am a fairly decent putter, my arccos caddie handicap for putting is +1.1 at the moment, and I average around 1.9 putts a hole. Lessons at the moment are not happening in my area nor are practice areas, but I would like information for when things are available to hit the ground running. There is always a couple putts that just get away from me, or I will look at that I just have no idea what it will do, and I just hope to get lucky. As a handicap golfer I am happy with 2 putt and go, but as a golfer I want more birdies and eagles to make my scorecard better. I have seen aimpoint, and has anyone tried it and is it worth trying to find a coach for that? I know they sell a DVD but it had very mixed reviews. I have even considered buying a level and just setting it at different spots on the practice area and training my brain that way. Any helpful tips are much appreciated. 

Jack Nicklaus said it is easier to make shorter putts so, he tried to get the approach shot as close as possible. 

I think he might have been onto something. 

 

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11 minutes ago, TimoTe said:

Jack Nicklaus said it is easier to make shorter putts so, he tried to get the approach shot as close as possible. 

I think he might have been onto something. 

 

I mean it’s hard to argue with a legend, I’ll see what I can do lol


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I don't know much about aimpoint but it sounds like you have a good group  promoting it.

For me I can just see the line. I crouch down about 6 feet behind the mark. Look at it and find a spot to hit to. I then place the ball and line up my line on the ball with the spot on the green I want to hit. Step back look again if all looks good I take two practice strokes for distance gauging.  Step up and focus on the line of the ball with the line of my putter. Straight back and straight through. Same distance back and same distance through. But this is just me, I can just see the line, but only from behind the ball. 

There are books, YouTube videos,  Aimpoint and tons of resources out there. But in the end it's always what  works best for you. Different grasses offer additional challenges too.


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Part of Tiger's secret to being a great putter was/is memory. He talks/talked about being certain places on greens and remembering how they broke/speed in the past. 

This tells me that time on the green is the biggest teacher.

Obviously, a consistent stroke, good path, solid impact, and distance control are key to being able to be able to sink multiple putts one after the next so, these are key factors to work on as fundamentals. 

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People have focused on the process of reading greens and techniques such as aimpoint. The one thing that is missing it how well do you start your ball on the intended line?

If you cannot roll the ball in intended line you have made reading greens an impossible task. The ability to trust whatever read you got comes from your ability to actually see the putt make that break. Timote alluded to it when he talked about memory.

Assume you have a putt and you hit the ball on you line and it goes
In. You matched speed and break. If you hit the putt with the same speed but miss your line right it left, the path the ball travels on it altered as is the ball speed. Do you interpret as bad stroke or wrong read? If you think it was read, your mental catalog doesn’t get built.

The reason for aimpoint is that it is a system that gives you a correct read and failure becomes only speed related. Aimpoint takes out the variables with a given green speed and slope the ball will always curve the same amount because friction and gravity don’t change.

If you want to understand some of the details behind aimpoint, read Vector Putting: The Art and Science of Reading Greens and Computing Break by H. A. Templeton

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On 6/8/2020 at 12:12 PM, cjeffs12 said:

Is there a secret to green reading? I am a fairly decent putter, my arccos caddie handicap for putting is +1.1 at the moment, and I average around 1.9 putts a hole.

Sounds like your putting isn't an issue to me. I too am a good putter more days than not and I usually do no worse than two putt. I am not a birdie machine but probably average 2 per round. Putting, driver, chipping are my strong suits. So, my focus is iron and approach shots. I've said a gillions times that putting is an egnima of sorts and some people just seem to have a gift or knack of being able to connect their brain, eyes, body into the read and then execute a good stroke on the proper line with the right feel and speed. I'm not against training aids, lessons, etc. But, cjeffs12 you're a very good putter already and from years of reading and being a part of this forum I'd have to say that you are in a rare group among all golfers. I have never taken any putting lessons but have taken plenty of lessons for my irons, chipping, etc. THAT worked more for lowering my scores than anything else. With your 10 hcp i'd ask about your irons/approach to greens. Perhaps that's the area you should focus on? I don't have the tour stats as a marker but even those guys don't hit their approach shots that close to the hole on any given day. But they certainly do make a higher percentage of putts than we do most days. With all that; work on your approach shots and try to tighten up your proximity to the hole and or missed greens. As a 3-5 hcp player I miss too many greens and as a 10 hcp player I'd guess you miss more than me. Putting isn't your issue. Certainly not mine.

Best wishes. 🏌️‍♂️

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22 minutes ago, PlaidJacket said:

Sounds like your putting isn't an issue to me. I too am a good putter more days than not and I usually do no worse than two putt. I am not a birdie machine but probably average 2 per round. Putting, driver, chipping are my strong suits. So, my focus is iron and approach shots. I've said a gillions times that putting is an egnima of sorts and some people just seem to have a gift or knack of being able to connect their brain, eyes, body into the read and then execute a good stroke on the proper line with the right feel and speed. I'm not against training aids, lessons, etc. But, cjeffs12 you're a very good putter already and from years of reading and being a part of this forum I'd have to say that you are in a rare group among all golfers. I have never taken any putting lessons but have taken plenty of lessons for my irons, chipping, etc. THAT worked more for lowering my scores than anything else. With your 10 hcp i'd ask about your irons/approach to greens. Perhaps that's the area you should focus on? I don't have the tour stats as a marker but even those guys don't hit their approach shots that close to the hole on any given day. But they certainly do make a higher percentage of putts than we do most days. With all that; work on your approach shots and try to tighten up your proximity to the hole and or missed greens. As a 3-5 hcp player I miss too many greens and as a 10 hcp player I'd guess you miss more than me. Putting isn't your issue. Certainly not mine.

Best wishes. 🏌️‍♂️

I jumped right on the Aimpoint part of the question, and didn't look critically at the rest of the OP.  At 1.9 putts per green, that's 34 putts per round.  Based on this data:

https://mygolfspy.com/2016-report-overall-golfer-performance-by-handicap/

That's just about average for a 10-handicap.  I don't know how Arcos calculates tits "putting handicap", but if its saying you're a plus handicap on the green, and you're still taking 34 putts, you probably have very few close chances.  As @PlaidJacket says, its likely that its your proximity (or lack of proximity) holding you back, not your putting.

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2 hours ago, cnosil said:

People have focused on the process of reading greens and techniques such as aimpoint. The one thing that is missing it how well do you start your ball on the intended line?

If you cannot roll the ball in intended line you have made reading greens an impossible task. The ability to trust whatever read you got comes from your ability to actually see the putt make that break. Timote alluded to it when he talked about memory.

Assume you have a putt and you hit the ball on you line and it goes
In. You matched speed and break. If you hit the putt with the same speed but miss your line right it left, the path the ball travels on it altered as is the ball speed. Do you interpret as bad stroke or wrong read? If you think it was read, your mental catalog doesn’t get built.

The reason for aimpoint is that it is a system that gives you a correct read and failure becomes only speed related. Aimpoint takes out the variables with a given green speed and slope the ball will always curve the same amount because friction and gravity don’t change.

If you want to understand some of the details behind aimpoint, read Vector Putting: The Art and Science of Reading Greens and Computing Break by H. A. Templeton

As far as starting it on line, I know I am not perfect, but pnce my practice areas open up I do plan on adding putting gates to my practice. On the course I use a line and for the most part it will roll end over end not a lot of wobble, but I do notice the less confident I am the more it wobbles/ all over the place. I will look into Vector Putting, Thank you


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