Pro's Corner

Reading Greens in Brief

By John Leach

  • As you approach the green, determine the slope of the surrounding terrain; the green usually will slope in the same general direction.

  • Envision water being poured over the green and visualize where it will run off; the putts will break in those directions.

  • Check grain by looking for color--a light sheen downgrain, darker and coarser upgrain. Look around the cup or examine spike marks. Remember that bent grass grows with the slop or the way the water runs off; whereas Bermuda grass usually grows toward the setting sun.

  • Usually look at a putt only from behind the ball, especially on your home course; your first impression is almost always your best one.

  • Slope comes into play more as the putt begins to die, as the area around the hole is most important. Don1t pick out a spot at which to hit the putt, but visualize the ball dying into the cup. Most putts miss below the hole. Be sure to start the ball high enough.

  • Practice to learn how speed and slope interact; how different green speeds affect the amount a ball will break on a hill.
  • Learn Speed of Greens

    Grass of course does grow, and it's something to be aware of especially if you are playing later in the day. It grows especially fast in the warmer climates. Consequently, the greens will get slower as the day goes on. At Traditions, we try to cut our greens to a speed of9 1/2 feet on the stimpmeter. By 4:30 in the afternoon, they have slowed to 8 or8 1/2 feet. Just remember the last putt of the day will be slower than the first one!

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