Simple advice from the pros on how you can hole more putts
16 Tour Pro Green Reading Tips
Look to see where the lowest point of the green surface is. It’s most likely that the ball will want to move in that direction.
I like to look at putts from behind the hole and from the low side. The main thing to remember is the middle part of the putt is the most important – it’s where most of the break is going to be.
Rafa Cabrera Bello
Start the process of reading the green when you are walking up to it. You can often get a better idea of the general direction of slopes from afar. Up close you can see smaller slopes and breaks, but further away you get a feel for what the entire green is doing.
I heard this from Rickie Fowler, I think. He reads the last part of the putt first. Look at the last three feet and see what’s it going to do at the hole, then work your way back. This really helps you to visualise a putt.
I take a point roughly two feet in front of the hole where I think the ball needs to roll over to have a chance, and just focus on that point and where the ball is going to enter the hole. It’s called the ‘quiet-eye’ so it’s more intuition-based.
Read your putts in sections. Start close, then work your way back through it and pick your spots. Try to then hit your spot in every section. So if you have a ten-footer, divide it into three sections
A lot of players under-read putts, especially left-to-righters. Aim outside the hole if you have to and then concentrate on the speed.
Look at the green before you actually get to it. This will help you get a feel for the general lie of the land and your surroundings.
Look at it from more than one angle. I start behind the hole then walk around the low side to get an overall picture. From the low side you often get a good idea of speed and where the apex is.
I always read putts from the low side as I think you see more of how the green is shaped. If you’re standing over the ball on a downhill putt, you’ll gauge it’s downhill, but from the low side the size of slope is more obvious.
Once you’ve assessed the slope, choose a point halfway between your ball and the hole and stay focused on that. Putting is easy – it’s just line and speed. Once you have your spot, don’t start second-guessing yourself. Commit to it and your putting will improve.
I do this little exercise where I pick a spot about halfway to the hole which I think the ball needs to roll over. I put two tees down like a gate and I try to hit it in between those two tees. From there you can see if the read is any good or not. If you do that for about half an hour it will definitely improve your green reading.
I’d say 99 per cent of the time amateurs under-read putts, so I’d spend some time on the putting green checking where your ball really starts. Allow perhaps another 50 per cent break on what you usually think
Trust your instinct. Go with what your eyes initially see, rather than looking for something that isn’t there second time around.
It’s a very tricky thing. I think there are people who have the ability to read greens better, but clearly the only way to improve is to practise. We play all kinds of different greens on the European Tour, so sometimes the grain of the grass is difficult to judge. But with time and practice you will be able to read greens properly.
I try to find a point a foot or so in front of the hole where I know if the ball crosses that point, it will go in. I then work my way back from the hole through that point.
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