It always starts out so wonderfully. You stick a green in regulation and you feel as though you’re on top of the world as you walk up to the green. Then, three excruciating putts later, you’re knocked off your short lived throne and sulk up to the next tee box trying to regain your crushed mental focus.
“What…no break?!? Where is my touch? What was I thinking?”
You replay the hole over and over in your mind as you mentally flog yourself for ruining such a great opportunity.
We’ve all been there. Learning to read the green properly is one of the biggest challenges faced by golfers of all skill levels.
So the question becomes, how do you correct this and become a green reading sharpshooter?
Let’s start with a new way of thinking about reading putts. Try this visualization: if you were to fill the entire cup with water until it was overflowing like mad, which direction would the water fall off the green? Would it fall fast right? Would it sit tight and create a puddle? Using a method like this to determine the grains of the green and slopes could be the difference in 7-10 strokes per round.
Yes…7 to 10 strokes per round!
With that concept in mind here are three simple steps you can perform next time you’re about to line up that next important putt for birdie, par, or a bogey save.
Observe your putt from both sides
Let’s say you have a 7-footer for birdie on the first hole of the day. You want to get the round off to a great start and at worst you wouldn’t mind the par before moving on to the second tee.
We all get nervous of the three putt bogey, so here’s what you should do first to prevent that. With this putt, stand behind your ball and take note of your first impression of how you think the “water will flow” out of the cup. Move back the same distance you are from the hole (you’re now standing 14 feet from the cup with the ball halfway between you and the cup). Squat down and look for the same slope. Now walk around the hole to about 7 feet from the opposite angle and squat down to confirm the slope is correct.