Golf Tutorial on How to Read Greens Like a Pro

Reading greens is a skill that experienced golfers have acquired and new golfers need to spend time learning. There is no shortcut to success when it comes to reading greens – you simply have to practice the skill and play more and more golf until you start to become adept at locating the slopes and estimating the speed and the break of a putt. This is one area of golf where it helps to be more creative than scientific – you need to be able to picture the proper line of a putt and then go about the task of hitting the putt on that line.

While nothing will replace experience when it comes to green reading, the tips below should help you get a little better in your next round –

  • Look for big slopes. Too many golfers get caught up in the tiny little slopes around their ball or the hole while reading a putt. Instead, try looking for the big slopes on or around the green to indicate which way the ball is going to break. For example, if you have a putt that looks mostly flat, but the slopes around the green are moving from right to left, you can assume the putt will break slightly in that direction.
  • Understand the time of day. If you are playing golf on a bright sunny day, expect the speed of the greens to change depending on the time of day. The patter usually goes as follows – the greens are slightly slower in the morning with the dew and water from sprinklers still in place. Then, they get faster as that water evaporates. Finally, they slow down again in the afternoon as the blades of grass start to grow under the warm sun. Pay attention to these changes throughout your round so you can keep your speed dialed in successfully.
  • Look from behind the hole. Another common green reading mistake is to look at a putt from behind the ball toward the hole, but not to do the opposite. It is important that you also read your putt from behind the hole looking back at the ball, because this will give you a better idea of the slope around the hole itself. Only when you have taken a careful look from both angles will you be able to pick a good target line and hit a quality putt.