Putt Reading is only concerned with the small piece of green over which your ball has to travel to reach the hole.
It is not the same as Green Reading.
Most golfers have difficulty in reading breaks.
This is because green speeds are getting faster and the slopes at the hole are more subtle to judge.
The Critical Zone for your putt is the last two to three feet on the approach to the hole. Putting successfully is all about managing these last few feet of the putt.
Putt Reading is a combination of Knowledge and Skill.
There is no exact way to determine how much a putt will break. Every putt is different, but there are techniques that can help you with your assessment of the break.
You are looking for the local Fall Line through the hole and using this knowledge to assess the break.
The diameter of a hole is 4.25 inches wide and your ball is 1.68 inches wide. The objective on any putt is to maximise the chance that your ball will fall into the hole and stay there.
The aggressive approach is taking out some of the break and ramming the putt home. Aggressive putters claim that a slower putt is more likely to be knocked off line by defects in the putting surface.
The disadvantage of such an approach is the fact that at higher speeds the width of the hole shrinks. The ball does not have enough time to feed down into the hole. A second disadvantage is the length of the come-back putt should you miss.
Matching the speed to the read is all important in Putt Reading and Green Reading.
So what is the best or optimum speed to make the maximum width of the hole available to capture your ball?
Geoff Mangum of Puttingzone suggests that the speed just be enough to get the ball over the rim. This means dying your putt into the hole rather than trying to bang it in.
This is not the view of Dave Pelz who advocates that missed putts should roll 17 inches past the hole.
|Putt with a Consistent|
Good putters have the ball going into the hole at the same rate of rolling speed every time and from any length.
Because they know how fast their ball will be travelling, they can pick an exact path into the hole. The maxim of One Speed, One Read.
Your putting will improve significantly if you can work on getting your putts to the hole at a consistent speed.
This speed should be just enough to allow the ball to fall below its equator before it hits the back wall. Once you can do this repeatedly, reading the putt is that much easier as there is always only one path into the hole.
1 = More Confessions of a Golf Addict by George Houghton (1954)