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green reading

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Putting Speed

Putting SpeedSpeed in putting is often the most critical element to making more putts, and once you have the correct speed you must match it properly with the correct line. We typically rank speed over line because one controls the other, as we’ll see in the pictures below. This article is designed to give you a better understanding the necessary speed to make more putts from a critical range – 3 to 10 feet.

Let’s examine a flat 5 foot putt, and assume the ball is rolling over a 2% grade from right to left. The ball will always roll down the slope, but the longer the ball is on the slope the more effect the slope will have on the ball. In picture 1 the ball is rolling with the proper speed (roughly 12 inches past the hole), and will roll into the center of the hole. In picture 2 we increase the speed, rolling the ball 3 feet past the hole. Since the ball spends less time on the slope it will break less and requires a starting line closer to the right edge than the first one. In picture 3, we decrease the speed so the ball will just barely roll to the front edge of the hole; this ball spends the most time on the slope and requires your starting line to be aimed the furthest outside of the cup.

Augusta National

Green readingWith spring comes a new golf season, and the always spectacular first Major of the year.  The Masters Tournament, contested at the renowned Augusta National, showcases the epitome of how we all wish our home course could look.  Perfectly manicured in every way, the spectacle is as visually stunning as it is exciting.  But one thing viewers at home will not quite understand is the severity of the undulation on all the greens at Augusta.

It all starts with the Green Read

In recent years, all aspects of golf instruction have been revolutionized with the assistance of science and technology.  My excitement surrounding this topic is vast…driven mostly by the fact that once we are on the putting green, all golfers have entered a level playing field.  The attributes needed for accurate putting are much less physically demanding than those required for a 300 yard drive…anyone can be a great putter! Let’s start from the beginning.  All putting greens are built with slope.  Augusta’s greens have some of the largest slopes on the PGA Tour.  A huge amount of that slope is from the back of the green towards the front, but it will also slope to the sides as well.