If you watched The Barclays last weekend, you couldn’t help but notice the bafflement of the PGA Tour’s best as they tried to read some of the greens at Bethpage Black. Even the announcers were forced at times to admit they had no clue which way a given putt was going to break.
Chances are, the greens on the courses you play are not nearly as diabolical, but nevertheless, devoting some time, attention and practice to reading greens is guaranteed to save you some strokes.
That said, reading greens accurately isn’t an easy task, but SwingFix instructor Justin Bruton has some great for some tips to help you improve that facet of your game:
'When teaching someone how to read greens, I always have them start first at the low side of the putt,” Bruton said. “The low side of the putt will always provide the best view for the severity of the slope. I also like for players to really study the edges of the green, where the fringe and the putting surface meet. This will give the green a defined shape and definition in order to see which sides are higher and lower to determine breaks.
'Once the player has an idea of the break from the low side, then I want them to walk all the way around the hole and then back to the low side in order to validate the original findings and to also get an idea of distance by pacing off the distance from the hole to the ball. It's always important to visualize the speed needed for each particular putt, because speed and line always depend on one another.”
Additionally, Bruton was quick to point out that the added work that goes into reading a green correctly doesn’t need to adversely affect your pace of play.
'Analyzing the slope of the putting surface should start as you're walking up to the green, and a player's putting routine should start well before it's their turn,” he added. “You should start reading the putt as soon as you get to the green to ensure you don't slow down the pace of play and that you're ready to go when it's your turn.'