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Patchy Conditions on the greens

are part of the challenge of golf.


Dr Bob Rotella wrote a book titled "Golf is Not a Game of Perfect". When you play golf, you have to deal with the conditions of the day. Instead of moaning, accept the challenge.

Green Maintenance

Greens have to be maintained and there will be times when the putting surface is less than ideal for the ball to roll smoothly on line.

Without regular maintenance such as aerating the greens, removing the thatch build-up and other essential work, you could lose your greens. This could lead to playing on temporary greens.

Helpful Ideas

Here are six (6) ideas to help you get the best from your putting when faced with patchy conditions:

1. Retain a Positive Attitude

You can’t play to your potential in any sport with a bad attitude. As soon as you let the adverse conditions get to you, you will follow a destructive spiral of complaining and losing your cool. This will undermine your ability and lessen any enjoyment of the game.

Accept that things are not perfect and make the most of the situation. Alternatively don’t play at all.

2. Lower Your Expectations

You should always give every putt due attention. However, when the roll of the ball is untrue, you should realise that each putt becomes somewhat of a lottery. You need to expect the unusual.

Well-stroked putts can bounce off line or come up short. If your putt misses, forget about it. Just focus on the next putt.

3. Don't Putt unless Necessary

If you are playing with a team partner, and he or she has already achieved the best score possible for the hole, pick up your ball rather than putt it.

Nothing erodes your confidence faster than missing a putt that you would expect to make under normal conditions. Only putt if you have to.

Phil Mickelson Chipping

Mickelson Chipping

4. Chip from off the Fringe

When greens are sanded or where the grass has been left unduly long, always chip rather than putt when on the fringe, especially when you are far from the hole.

Position the ball towards the back of your stance with your hands forward, and chip with an eight iron. It is easier to judge the distance with a low bump and run than trying to bang a long putt over a slow surface.

5. Putt to an Imaginary Hole

A common problem with slow greens is leaving the ball short of the hole. The distance may appear near, but the length of the grass means that you have to stroke the ball harder than you usually would.

The way to overcome this deception is to imagine a hole beyond the actual hole and putt to this as you would do under normal conditions. The actual hole becomes an intermediate target rather than the ultimate target.

6. Reduce the Allowance for the Break

On slow greens your ball will break less than on fast greens. When the putting surface is extra slow, you can reduce any break considerably. In fact, it is often not a bad idea to putt straight.

Patchy Conditions

No-one likes to play when the course is not at its best. However, the reality is that the green keeping staff has a job to do and their maintenance work entails periodic work on the greens, bunkers, and fairways.

When the greens are being cored or sanded and you are faced with patchy conditions, putting is difficult. However, it is the same for everyone, so don’t let it spoil your fun.

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Related Topics


expect the unusual


chip rather than putt

slow greens