As we have already discussed in the previous post, you should start your green reading process as you are walking towards the green. 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. In this post, we are going to discuss the Eye Line Method of green reading which is a very common way of selecting the ball’s line to the hole. However, it is also commonly used incorrectly.
REACHING THE GREEN MARK THE BALL
When reached the green surface, the first thing to do is mark the position of your ball using a ball marker or small flat coin, by placing it directly behind the ball on the green.
If you accidentally moved the ball as you are placing the marker you should not receive a penalty (New Local Rule in effect from Jan 2017) but must ensure that the marker is in the correct position, where the ball was before it moved. Make sure that you confirm with your playing partners that the ball had been moved by mistake and that you point out where you think the ball was before you moved it and mark its position accordingly.
Now that you have marked your ball position stand approximately 2 to 3m behind the ball marker facing on a direct line to the hole. Lower your eye line behind the ball by flexing the knees. You can use your putter to aid in your stability by placing it on the ground out to one side and holding it in one hand.
Now look down the line directly over the ball towards to hole. What you are looking for is the line that the ball will need to travel on to make the hole, taking the green slope into consideration.
The ball once in motion will be affected by the forces of gravity, so will be pulled in the downhill direction, as well as forwards due to the speed of the ball. The greater the slope that the ball will travel over, the greater the downhill force and the more the ball will break from its original line. Therefore, the more aim off is required.
When you are visualising the balls roll and path, consider the speed that the ball will need to roll. The ideal speed will see the ball roll towards the hole on the line you have chosen. Reach the hole on the professional (uphill or higher side) side of the hole and either go in or roll no more than 18” past. This is the optimum speed, allowing the ball a good opportunity to go in. If it misses the hole then it will only run a short distance past, giving you, an easy putt coming back. The initial read should take no longer than 10 seconds.
Now stand up and move towards the middle of the putt, about 2m on the downhill side of your line. Get low down again and visualise the break of the putt. See if it matches your expectations from the previous position.
Then move to a position 2m behind the hole, looking back towards to ball markers position. You repeat the reading process again and compare the visualisation from the previous 2 reads.
Finalized your thoughts as you return to the ball marker, walking on the downhill side of your putt line. Once you get back to the marker, replace the ball, line the marked line on the ball, up to the putting line and continue with your putting routine.
Once the ball is a few feet on its way, you can then look along the line and follow the track of the ball. If the ball goes in wonderful but if it misses, don’t look away, keep tracking the ball until it comes to rest. Watching the ball will help you identify the speed and line you will need to stroke the ball on, to make the next putt. You will be surprised how many people look away at the last moment, then miss the next bringing the dreaded 3 putts into play, or worse!
This method is relying almost completely on your ability to use your eye’s, to visualise the break and speed of the ball for a putt. This does get better with practice, even if you’re not so good at it when you first start. Your ability to read the greens will improve over time, as you get more experience of the greens you are playing on.
PRACTICE THE METHOD
Next time you are on the practice green have a look at the other people who are working on the green at the same time. How many of them are working on their green reading skills do you think? From my experience, hardly any will be. They might be working on around the clock or ladder drill or might be working on their distance control but how many read each putt properly?
When you are practicing before your round, it’s not the time to be tinkering with your technique? Spend time going through your routine. Read each putt as if it was out on the course. Make sure that you are reading the putting line properly and visualising the speed that the ball needs to travel to go in.
Finally, make a stroke at the putt and watch the track and speed of the ball intently, adjust speed according to that day’s green speed and ensure that your practice putts are going at the optimum speed, to either go in or no more than 18” past the hole.
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?