How To Read Greens Better: 7 Tips For Improving Your Short Game

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Do you struggle with reading greens correctly and consistently sinking putts? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, even the pros sometimes have trouble sinking putts. However, with a few simple tips, you can start reading greens better and sinking more putts. Read on to find out more!

Tip 1: The Plumb Technique

Why is it called the plumb technique? No idea!! However, this is a tried and tested technique a lot of golfers use to read greens better.

When you have a putt, stand about ten feet back from the ball. Hold your putter loosely out in front of you and dangle it down straight. Work out which eye is your dominant eye and be sure to hold the putter in the opposite hand to this. 

Then simply line the ball up with the hole using the putter you are dangling down straight in front of you. Try to line the shaft of your putter up with both the right and left side of the ball you are putting. Only use your dominant eye when lining up your putter with the ball and the hole.

If you are lining up on the right-hand side of the ball and you can’t see the flag, it means that your putt is breaking left. Or if the flag is out to the left, the position of your putter is telling you where you should aim to hit your putt. This would be reversed when lining up on the right side.

If you still have no idea what I am talking about, watch this handy video by MrShortGameGolf!

Just be aware that if you want to try this technique, you also need to work out the best position to hold your putter in where the shaft is straight. You could try this at home first, lining the club up against any vertical straight lines you have.

Tip 2: Use Your Feet!

This is a technique that works great for putts 20 feet or less that only break in one direction. The first thing to do is to walk around the hole from your putt in a circle, staying at all times the same distance from the hole as your ball is. So if you had a 15 foot putt, you would always stay 15 feet away from the hole when walking around it in a circle.

As you are doing this, you need to try to sense whether you are walking uphill or downhill. Use this to find the nearest straight putt to your ball, By sensing the ground between the straight putt and your ball (whether you are walking up or down from it) will help you decide the way the putt should break. The further your putt from this straight line, the more it should break.

Again, if you are still baffled, luckily US Golf TV have any excellent video explanation.

Tip 3: Addressing the ball

When addressing the ball on a putt, you want to make sure that you are using a stable and accurate swing. Think of a window on the floor in front of you, 3 inches behind and in front of the ball. As you swing the putter through this space to address the ball, make sure you are doing this in a straight fashion. There should be no arc or club face rotation as you swing the club through this area.

A good way to practice this at home is to use an alignment mirror or a physical putting track guide. You can see the ones I found on Amazon below (click the image to view over at Amazon yourself).

Tip 4: Use Your Environment

It can be hard at times to see the break in greens when trying to line up a putt. One technique you can use it to find something flat in the environment around the hole as a reference point. For example, water is known to lay totally flat, so if you have a decent sized water feature around you, the waterline could be a great flat reference. Another good one is roof lines!

Once you have found a flat reference in your environment, simply move your eyes from that to the green and back several times. This will really help you see any slope in the green and putt more accurately.

Tip 5: Take Your Time

Hopefully, this article can show you that there is more to getting a good putting technique than you may think. Most top golfers have assembled a couple of their favorite putting tips into a ritual that they do every time before putting a ball. It is important that you do the same. Of course, this may slow you down somewhat at the beginning, but with practice you will get faster and it will become a big part of your game. So ignore the jibes from your fellow golf buddies, stick with the process and you will get better.

Tip 6: Don’t Chop and Change

There are many theories and techniques out there that golfers use to help them with their putting ability. But don’t try to use them all. Settle on a couple that fit nicely together into a ritual that works for you and stick with them. Don’t get ‘shiny object syndrome’ and keep changing your putting technique from week to week. This will never result in any worthwhile improvements.

With the rise of the internet, I know it is easy to get sucked into researching the latest putting techniques, but I would recommend you find a couple that work for you and stick with them.

Tip 7: Watch Your Fellow Golfers

If your golf partners have similar putts to you on the green you are about to putt on, make sure to pay attention and see how the ball reacts to their putt. This will often give you massive insights, especially when the breaks involved can be subtle and nuanced. I am sure you have all seen the pros doing this, standing behind their playing partner as they putt with eagle eyes. Don’t be shy! You can do the same, you will probably learn alot!

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