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Golf Coach's Corner

Golf Tip

Presented by Bret Knutson, Camp Co-Director
Nike Junior Golf Camps, Twin Oaks Golf Course

How to Become a Better Putter - Reading Greens and Speed Control

Premier Golf Academy Junior Camps Putting

At Premier Golf Academy Junior Camps in San Diego, our coaches place severe emphasis on the importance of reading greens and controlling your speed when putting. Being a great speed-control putter and also a player who can walk around a green and see every nook and cranny is a very dangerous combination. Below is a fantastic guide to helping each player improve these skills along with a few simple tips and tricks.

As a visual, be sure to look at a clock during this reading. Envision the hole of every green is the center of the clock.

Makeable Putts

The most common putts in a round of golf are in the make-able range of three yards or less. These are the putts you need to make to shoot good scores and also the same ones that will frustrate you if you keep missing them. Miss enough of them and it ruins your confidence and puts pressure on the rest of your game. Bad direction is responsible for some of your misses, but a good number of your misses will be the result of a misread and poor speed control.

If you want to start holing more of these putts, then there are two things you have to do: 

1) Read the green correctly by first learning to determine the Fall Line (below). 

2) Practice your Tempo and Distance Control so that you can get your ball to arrive at the hole at the same speed every time; one that gives your ball the best opportunity to fall into the hole and stay there.

What is the Fall Line?

Every hole will have two putts that are straight, one going directly down the hill and one going directly up the hill. This is what we call the "fall line". We use a clock to represent the positions of the fall line. The highest point is 12 o’clock with the putt going straight down the hill. The lowest position is 6 o’clock with the putt going straight up the hill. These represent the two straight putts on every hole.

Once you know the slope through the hole from 12 o'clock to 6 o'clock, the direction of break from all sides of this Fall Line is always the same. 

Speed Changes as the Angle to Fall Line Moves

As we move around the hole in a circle 2 things change for each putt. First, is the amount of break we need to play. Second, is the power required to make each putt. The straight up the hill putt requires the most power to make. The straight down the hill putt requires the least power. Putts at 3 and 9 o’clock have the most break, putts at 6 and 12 o’clock are straight.

Putts of Equal Distance Around the Hole, Have the Same Aim Point

This means the place you need to aim to make the putt is the same no matter your angle to the hole. For example if I have a 10-foot putt from the 4 o’clock position the aim point is the same as if I had a 10-foot putt from the 9 o’clock position, and so on. So once you start to understand this concept you can read the green from any position around the hole.

Improve Your Game With Us

Reading the break on the greens correctly is a skill that can be develop with proper training and knowledge. Once you understand the methods, with practice anyone can become an expert at reading greens accurately and start making more putts. Come join us for a program at Premier Golf Academy and we will get you start on the correct path.

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