It is unlikely that you will putt
on pure greens that are perfectly true.
While it is desirable to putt on greens that are free of bumps, the best most golfers can hope for are greens that run at a consistent speed.
Pure Greens are seldom, if ever, attainable on the golf courses that most golfers play. Because of the high level of traffic the surface is typically damaged by footprints, poorly repaired pitch marks and other signs of daily wear.
Look at any green as the sun sets low in the sky and you will realise how pitted and uneven the surface is.
Every year at the US Masters TV viewers can see the way a golf ball rolls on immaculate greens and how the speed of the ball at the hole is critical to the outcome of each putt.
There are no bumps to deviate the path the ball follows and every putt is a true reflection of the player's skill. The event is a great opportunity to benefit from a free putting lesson.
The greens at Augusta National are anything but flat. Whereas the average golfer is happy to hit anywhere on the green, placement of the ball on the greens at Augusta play a big part in the number of putts taken.
Uphill putts are more makeable while downhill putts become scary fast.
Tests show that the faster the ball approaches the hole, the less of the hole is available to capture it.
For a ball to drop it must have time to fall more than half its diameter before hitting the back wall of the hole. A ball travelling too fast will lip out and any side action from the rim can sling the ball away.
The skill of judging the correct speed on fast greens is magnified, and any error of judgement is punished.
When you putt on slow greens the break caused by the slope is considerably reduced. As the pace on the greens speeds up, the calculation of the break is more difficult. Now you have to judge more carefully the strength of your putting stroke.
There is a range of speeds that can be used successfully. Too fast and the ball may catch the hole, but not drop. Too slow and the ball may not reach the hole or may be knocked off line by any unevenness on the surface.
Speed is everything when putting, direction comes in second. Pick the wrong speed for the line you have chosen and you will be putting again. The golden rule is that for every speed there is only one best read.
The way most good golfers address speed is to have one consistent arrival pace for the ball at the hole.
They either prefer to die their ball into the hole giving it the best chance to fall if their aim is slightly off, or they prefer to putt more boldly to lessen the effect of any surface irregularities.
Understanding the importance of speed and learning how to control the pace of your ball will see you holing more putts. There is no better event that demonstrates how speed affects the roll of the ball and the eventual outcome of the putt on pure greens than the US Masters.
Pure Greens make the Science of Speed and Break easy to see.
1 = dailytelegraph.com.au
2 = golfcourseartwork.com
3 = indpendent.ie