I was playing ten and had a thirty-five-foot putt. I whispered over my shoulder: “How does this one break?” And my caddie said, “Who cares?” – Jack Lemmon
I have watched many people play golf who say they just can’t putt, even if their life depended on it. One of the most important golf lessons, is that your life does not depend on your ability to sink the next putt, it would just be nice? I have also watched many times when golfers have studied the green intensely and decided on a line that was nowhere even close to the one they were faced with. They hit the putt, shrug their shoulders and say I must try a new putter?
The reason we start off the practical element of our putting course with green reading is that this is such an important aspect of good putting and the foundation on which everything else is developed.
You could have the most fantastic putting stroke but if you constantly fail to set your ball off on the right line, you are never going to have any great success. Secondly, many people have quite good strokes and distance control but, are constantly changing things trying to create a perfect putting formula, this creates inconsistency. Therefore, developing a sound and reliable method of reading the green and visualising the path and speed that the ball needs to travel to make the hole, is a vitally important first step. In this email, we are going to look at the Eye Line method.
PUTTING GREEN CONSTRUCTION
Before we start into the specifics we are going to look at the construction of the green, problems associated with its maintenance and the effects that have on your ability to make more putts. When the course designer is formulating their plan for the course, they must take into consideration the:
• The natural topography of the landscape
• The type of soil and grass
• Irrigation and drainage systems
• Maintenance access, pathways, and routes from hole to hole around the course.
They also need to make the hole pleasing to the eye and the natural conclusion of each hole.
Immediately under the grass, the green has many layers which include the root zone, coarse sand, gravel, and the drainage system. The layers allow for healthy grass development as well as water drainage, which is crucial if the course is to be played on all year round.
When you approach the green, you can see the slope that will either be from back to front or front to back. This would be where the water would run off if it rained or the green is watered. A point to remember is that if it’s a water runoff area, it will also be a ball run off area!
The green would also be tilted in a general direction one side or the other. This will give you the general feeling of the slope and if the putt is likely to be up or downhill. This information can be valuable when you are reading your putt on the green.
The bank of information helps to support your read of the putt, which will really help you improve your confidence in green reading.
The grain of the grass will influence the ball speed. Putts with the grain are faster than putts against the grain. This combined with an uphill or downhill putt needs to be considered if you are to putt the ball at the right speed.
Vertical mowing and sand topdressing in conjunction with core aeration, produce the best-putting surfaces, resulting in a firm, smooth, well drained and fast putting surface. The green staff uses the top dressing to maintain a true surface and to stimulate growth, through the addition of fresh minerals and organic matter, to modify soil structure. When they do this your putts will run a little slower than normal for a couple of days.
Rolling will improve surface smoothness and firmness. The Stimp Meter test is the normal measure of the speed of the green. The higher the reading the faster and therefore further a ball will roll on any given green.
Your green staff will try and keep your practice green to the same standard, prepared in the same way as the greens on the course. So, when you practice before your round, you should have a similar ball speed as you will face out on the course.
APPROACHING THE GREEN
Your green reading process should start well back from the green as you are approaching it. When you approach the green you can need, to evaluate the break and speed of the usually see are sloped either from back to front or front to back, with water run-off area. A point to remember water runoff area will also be a ball run off area.
The green would also be tilted in a general direction one side or the other. This will give you the general feeling of the slope and if the putt is likely to be up or downhill.
In the video below, it is obvious that this green has a high point to the right sloping down to the left. It also has quite a severe slope with the high point at the back of the green and low point at the front.
By the time you get to the green surface, you should have a really good idea of the general shape of the green, its high and low points front to back and from side to side. Therefore, you will already have a general idea of the break of the putt and know if it is uphill or downhill. You just don’t know how much of a break to play and at what speed.
I know that my programme would be helpful to anyone who wants to improve their game. The question you need to ask yourself is, can you trust me to help you? Visit www.green2teegolf.com and find out what we have to offer?