How to Read Greens

By | on March 29, 2022 | 15 Comments |


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15 Responses to “How to Read Greens”

  1. June 29, 2013


    What really tell you if it right to left or otherwise. I know there some slight incline or decline on either side but what do usually see or look for. Is the shading, the flow of the grains of grass or the way it was mowed. Thanks!

  2. By what I said, looking around the outside edges of the green, looking for the high spots and low spots. This really just comes from practice and experience. There is no real science to reading greens other then having small tid bits of information like I said in the tip. The “shading” is part of grain on the greens. This is typically from Bermuda grass. I will have a tip soon on Grain. Thanks.

  3. November 24, 2014


    Is plumb bobing a a reliable way to read the break?

    • November 25, 2014

      Paul Wilson


      I’ve never been one to do this. You really just have to try it and see if you like it. See any tour players doing it anymore. I can’t think of any.

  4. February 16, 2015


    Reading the green and then trying to figure out the slope AND speed always confuse me. And then there’s the grain! Ugh!

  5. Do you think that drawing a line on the golf ball and looking at that line from low behind the golf ball is a good way to line up a putt once you have determined which way you think it will break?

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      March 25, 2019


      I will figure out the break of the putt, then generally line up the line on the golf ball to the break. Then, check it out a few times from behind to make sure its close, then when I’m over the putt I’m making my final adjustments. I don’t rely on the line on the golf ball a 100%, just because I don’t think that a line that small can be as accurate as you need it to be.

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        March 31, 2019

        Paul Wilson


        If you are using the line on the ball that is how you should be doing it. Right, the line may be slightly off and you will not know it. Plus, you can sit there forever trying to get it lined up. I don’t really do it anymore with the line on the ball.

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      March 31, 2019

      Paul Wilson


      I was trying this for a while. I stopped doing it. You can if you wish. Lots of pros do this.

  6. I really appreciated you two commenting on the questions. Maybe because I agreed with them has something to do with…LOL Anyway, I always read your comments and that is the best part for me to understand you.

    • Donald,

      I always wonder who is reading the comments. Glad you are. Lots of answers in there. I have replied to 19,588 questions since I first started the site.

  7. I depend on my ‘feel’ of my putting stroke and ofcourse the direction of the ball. On a good day, you may have a good feel but on another, it is totally out.

    • Charlie,

      Yes, feel is vital too but you have to look at your surroundings to get clues as to how it will break.

  8. Pete’s comments are well taken and to the point .but to be more
    accurate ,don’t rely on your eyes only ,they are deceitful .Use your body :you have a fairly good appreciation of gravity with your body in your legs (You “plumb bob with your legs !).Walk along the line and feel the slope .Get across the hole to assess the slope close to it ,look at the bits of grass growing Inside the hole ,which way are they pointing ?
    Then, from behind the ball, find the line ,on which the ball should roll ,cm per cm ,not as a general line and find the imperfections on the surface of the green which may deviate the ball.You are ready to roll the ball

  9. Pete, I appreciate your thoughts and help. I do thirst for more. I have often heard others say that if the green is shinny, the grain is going away from you and the putt will be faster. Similarly, if the green to the hole is darker, you’ll be putting into the grain and it will be slower. Some say if grass is growing over the edge of the hole, the grain around the hole is in that direction. Others say the grass will tend to grown toward the sun and, hence, the grain will go in that direction (often in northamerrica, to the south or southwest).

    Another thing I’ve heard is to “read backwards” from the hole. Judge, given the slope of the green, the path the ball will have to take to get from the hole to where it lies on the green. Imagine the line all the way back to the ball, then line up the putt to “hit” the “high point” or break point on the path.

    Do you agree with all or any of this? Any other suggestions? Is there any good book on green reading you’d recommend?


    Bill Freeman

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