Putting doesn’t have to be a scary part of the game; you just have to know how to handle yourself on the green. When you discover how to read a green properly, you can drastically improve your score each round and decrease the amount of time you spend with a putter in your hands. By learning to analyze the conditions of a green and diagnose the best way to sink a putt, you’ll be able to avoid racking up unnecessary strokes and in turn feel more confident about your putting game. All it takes is some coaching and a bit of practice.
How to read a green: Surveying the terrain
Becoming more confident with a putter in your hands begins with finding the right line to the hole, and the first step is surveying the green for important features. PGA Professionals Jay Overton and Chip Koehlke introduce the idea of using what you know about the architecture of the course to your advantage. Elements such as drainage direction, grass type and slope are highly important for figuring out how to read a green for speed. You can tell from looking at a putt from different angles approximately where the ball will need to roll, but these other factors will give you insight into how hard you need to hit the ball once you have the putt lined up.
How to read a green to improve rate of play
Another big factor on the greens is rate of play. Golfers who are unsure of themselves on the green tend to take too long reading the terrain and assessing their line, holding up play for their partners and the groups behind them. To counteract this tendency, PGA Professional Rodney Green gives a quick tip for how to read a green while your playing partners are setting up to putt, so you get a good idea of what your putt will do while keeping play at a steady pace.
How to read a green during practice rounds
Finally, PGA Professional Mike Davis teaches you how to read a green during your practice round in anticipation of tournament play. He discusses ways to lay out possible hole locations as well as find potentially dangerous spots for your approach shots from the fairway.