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70sSanO

Reading Greens

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I don't recall having this issue when I was younger, or maybe I have selectively erased it from my mind, but I can't read greens.  I'm not talking about the obvious rainbow putts; I actually made a 15 foot bender yesterday.  I'm talking about looking at the hole and basically guessing... "I think it is going to break right, or maybe left, or... straight?"  My speed is pretty good and I can usually hit it where I am aiming, but where I am aiming is generally not where I really want to hit it.  I try to get an idea when I ride/walk up to the green, but my mind is usually jello when I have to pull the trigger and putt I defensively.

Any advice?

Are there instructors that work on reading greens and not the putting stroke?

Thanks in advance.

John

Edited by 70sSanO

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12 minutes ago, 70sSanO said:

I don't recall having this issue when I was younger, or maybe I have selectively erased it from my mind, but I can't read greens.  I'm not talking about the obvious rainbow putts; I actually made a 15 foot bender yesterday.  I'm talking about looking at the hole and basically guessing... "I think it is going to break right, or maybe left, or... straight?"  My speed is pretty good and I can usually hit it where I am aiming, but where I am aiming is generally not where I really want to hit it.  I try to get an idea when I ride/walk up to the green, but my mind is usually jello when I have to pull the trigger and putt I defensively.

Any advice?

Are there instructors that work on reading greens and not the putting stroke?

Thanks in advance.

John

 

8 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

I recommend Aimpoint. It's the best way to read greens. 

http://www.aimpointgolf.com/findInstructor

 

Definitely AimPoint. It is well worth the money for a course. You won't be guessing anymore.

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I don't think everyone needs aimpoint.  If you are reading greens well, like Jordan Spieth, then why mess with it.

I really benefited from Aimpoint Express as I was weak at getting good reads.

@70sSanO, Aimpoint is perfect for someone like you.

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Barring you having some type of setup or path issue, green reading is such an instinctual thing that its hard to convey. You have to figure the condition of the green, grain (if any) subtle rises and falls, etc. 

I really don't think there is a mechanical way to teach someone how to read a green. You can point out obvious things (like what you mentioned in your post) but picking out those little subtle breaks just comes down to situational awareness and feel, IMO. 

 

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I haven't taken an Aimpoint class, but I've read enough to understand that a big part of that system is feeling the slope through your body, your feet.  While I don't do it as systematically as Aimpoint would suggest, I definitely pay attention to what my feet are telling me.  If you're having problems normally, you might try that general approach, "feeling" the slope.  Stand near your line (not on it) and try to feel which way is downhill.  Aimpoint classes would certainly help you refine that feeling, and give you some additional tools to evaluate the breaks, but trying to "feel the slope" might give you a start in the right direction.

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2 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

I haven't taken an Aimpoint class, but I've read enough to understand that a big part of that system is feeling the slope through your body, your feet.  While I don't do it as systematically as Aimpoint would suggest, I definitely pay attention to what my feet are telling me.

Yup.  This is actually what I do most of the time.  I don't bother with my charts on putts with multiple breaks, or putts that are longer than 25-30' or so, and I also sometimes just get lazy and don't bother with them on other random putts either.  But the ability to read the green with my feet and at least know with quite a bit of certainty which direction it will break, as well as having a greater understanding of how it's usually more break than you'd initially guess, is enough to get me close most of the time.

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13 minutes ago, Groucho Valentine said:

I really don't think there is a mechanical way to teach someone how to read a green. You can point out obvious things (like what you mentioned in your post) but picking out those little subtle breaks just comes down to situational awareness and feel, IMO. 

 

Check out Aimpoint. 

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I passed on Aimpoint. That doesn't mean that was the correct decision - I could probably use the skills there.

Instead, I just created my own pre-shot routine, just like with any other shot.

I won't go through my whole routine, but basically when it comes to reading breaks I squat down and the most important part of it (for me) is me determining which was the green drains rainwater. All greens have to drain. I then take a very wide look at the green in my peripheral vision and match it with the trees in any treelines around to have an offset in my vision to determine the magnitude of any slops/breaks. Then I just imagine lightly tossing a ball in my mind and seeing where I think it would go.

Works for me, for now. May not work for you. I just realized that when I focused hard on a line and where I was going to put it that's when I would greatly misread breaks. Putting has a huge negative tunnel-vision influence on me.

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44 minutes ago, jkelley9 said:

I passed on Aimpoint. That doesn't mean that was the correct decision - I could probably use the skills there.

Instead, I just created my own pre-shot routine, just like with any other shot.

I won't go through my whole routine, but basically when it comes to reading breaks I squat down and the most important part of it (for me) is me determining which was the green drains rainwater. All greens have to drain. I then take a very wide look at the green in my peripheral vision and match it with the trees in any treelines around to have an offset in my vision to determine the magnitude of any slops/breaks. Then I just imagine lightly tossing a ball in my mind and seeing where I think it would go.

Works for me, for now. May not work for you. I just realized that when I focused hard on a line and where I was going to put it that's when I would greatly misread breaks. Putting has a huge negative tunnel-vision influence on me.

If it works, it works, but your routine sounds awfully heavily weighted towards what you see, and the biggest takeaway for me with Aimpoint was how much easier it is to read greens (and not be tricked by visual features) by reading the greens by feel.

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3 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

I haven't taken an Aimpoint class, but I've read enough to understand that a big part of that system is feeling the slope through your body, your feet.  While I don't do it as systematically as Aimpoint would suggest, I definitely pay attention to what my feet are telling me.  If you're having problems normally, you might try that general approach, "feeling" the slope.  Stand near your line (not on it) and try to feel which way is downhill.  Aimpoint classes would certainly help you refine that feeling, and give you some additional tools to evaluate the breaks, but trying to "feel the slope" might give you a start in the right direction.

This is me as well. Since I started feeling the slope with my feet, I have not really been fooled by any breaks. It's as simple as feeling which foot feels higher than the other. It's really that simple. The toughest ones are still the ones that are almost flat.

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I cant feel slope with my feet  so that doesnt help.Unless itd obvious I struggle with reads.Lot of times in trnys the pins are put in tricky spots where looks are deceiving.Ive always looked at hole from behind my ball and looked to see if one side of white in cup was more visible signifying a slanted hole.

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6 minutes ago, DaveP043 said:

Well duh. 

Was trying to pull off a little Dr. Seuss style post there. ;)

But seriously ... Reading greens with your feet does seem foreign and daunting but with very little practice it's not so tough.

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2 minutes ago, Golfingdad said:

Was trying to pull off a little Dr. Seuss style post there. ;)

But seriously ... Reading greens with your feet does seem foreign and daunting but with very little practice it's not so tough.

And you know I'm just giving you a hard time cuz I can.  Honestly, I've probably done that for a long time, subconciously.  I don't really think I've changed my process, but maybe I've become more aware of it since I've learned a tiny bit about Aimpoint.

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I don't think any improvement in golf came as easy to me as reading greens with my feet and Aimpoint Express.  In was an "ah ha" moment and an instant improvement.  I'm certainly not perfect at feeling it exact, I might confuse a 1 finger break with a 2 finger break but I certainly don't confuse a 1 finger vs. a 3 finger break.  Practice leads to improvement like anything else.  

I no longer get the direction of the break wrong by being fooled by the way things look.  To this point, sometimes I might feel no break with my feet but my eyes are telling me things are slanting one way or the other.  I know though that my feet are telling me the truth.

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1 hour ago, Aflighter said:

I cant feel slope with my feet  so that doesnt help.Unless itd obvious I struggle with reads.Lot of times in trnys the pins are put in tricky spots where looks are deceiving.Ive always looked at hole from behind my ball and looked to see if one side of white in cup was more visible signifying a slanted hole.

I am in the same boat as you. Not much feeling in my feet. I also use the white of the cup sometimes too. Another thing I sometimes do, is while walking up to the green is to see if there is a building in the back ground with a level, horizontal line to compare the green surface with. 

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