“There are many factors involved in becoming a great putter, beginning with your ability to read greens” – David Lee
To become a great player, one needs to master every facet of the game, but none more so than putting. One of the most important issues to be dealt with on the journey to becoming an above average or super putter, lies in your ability to read greens. It takes a considerable level of “want to,” and a good deal of patience to learn all the nuances involved in properly reading greens, but the
strokes that vanish from your scorecard will be well worth the effort. My first suggestion is to take a dozen or so golf balls in a plastic bag or small bucket (they are going to get wet) and walk around your course early in the morning before they cut the greens. The dew will be covering the ground at that time of day and yesterday’s cup will still be somewhere on the green even if the flag-sticks have not been put out yet. Walk the entire circumference of the green and every ten or fifteen feet, kneel at the edge of the green and roll a ball to the hole with your hand. The ball will leave a track through the dew on its way to the hole and you can study the effect of slope and gravity on the ball-path. You can also see how much the dew-line changes as you vary the ball-speed. Pay attention to whether or not the actual track that the ball leaves in the dew as it rolls across the green, matches the break you saw in your mind before you rolled it. Obviously, the dew will not be there when you’re playing golf, but you’ll be amazed at how much this exercise will help in your ability to properly anticipate the break and speed when you are putting for real.
In the next segment, we will discuss the effect that the “grain” of the grass has on the ball-speed and break, and why reading it properly is a major factor in whether your ball goes in the hole or barely misses.