One of the most important but often overlooked aspects of amateur golf is putting! It’s fun and satisfying to hit the driving range and hit balls. We get it! I’ve been guilty of this too. I do eventually straighten this out in my practice schedule though. The thing that I want to talk to you about today isn’t about your putting stroke or how to practice your putting. So how else can you have fewer putts?
Learn to Observe
Yes! Observing your surroundings! We’re taught that when we’re hitting approach shots and even chip shots that you look at the ball and see how it’s sitting. Is it sitting down or up? Is the ball above or below your feet? Are you going up to the pin or down? But did you know that you should be doing this on the putting greens? This is a huge aspect of green reading, learning to observe the green and it’s surroundings.
When you are standing at your ball on the green, are there any green side bunkers? Green side bunkers can lead to a crown on the green edges. That means that from the edge of the green closest to the bunker is a high point and will move a ball away from there.
Did you walk to the side of your putt? Are you going uphill or downhill? This can help you to double check so you’re aware of your speed. Maybe it’s perfectly level but it’s a sidehill lie. So are you moving left to right or right to left?
One of the last big pieces to observe is natural surroundings such as valley and mountain affects. Sometimes, there are courses that if you’re putting, the ball will break towards a valley or away from a mountain. Be aware of this! This can be the most helpful on very short putts.
Observation in green reading is a huge help with lag putts but can definitely influence those shorter putts. Make sure you take the extra 30 seconds to make those observations as you’re walking up to the green, it can be the difference between a 3-putt and an easy 2-putt!
Do you have a favorite way of going about green reading? Let me know in the comments!