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Putting Zones

Putting Zones are areas of the green that you can

reasonably expect the pin to be located.


If you have some idea how the green is contoured and where the pin locations are usually placed, you can map the local fall line in each zone of the green.

The importance of know something about each green is that you can map the local fall line in each zone. This will help you to anticipate how the ball will break.

Putting Zones / Greens

Putting Greens differ in their shape and size. However, they share a number of common characteristics:

  • Most greens in order to receive the ball and provide an aesthetic appearance slope from the back to the front.
  • To minimise daily wear and tear the architect will design a green so that there are multiple pin locations.

    In setting up the course the ground staff will rotate the location of the pin according to a pre-determined pattern.
  • The slope of the green is away from the area of greenside bunkers to prevent water funneling into the bunker.

Pin Rotation

A common pin rotation policy is to segment the green into six zones:

  • Back - Middle - Front
  • Left Side - Right Side

In each zone there will be a predominant slope. For example, if you emptied a bucket of water, the water would run in a certain direction. This is the fall line for that zone.

Green Reading

Green Reading starts with understanding the overall slope of the green. Next comes Putt Reading. Here you are only concerned with that part of the green over which your ball will run to the hole.

Now imagine the pin is located in the back left zone and you are faced with a 5-foot makeable putt in that zone. How do you read the break? Is it a right to left or left to right?

If you had previously mapped each zone of the green, you will know the predominant slope and the direction of the fall line.

For example, if your ball is right of the fall line that runs through the hole, you can be confident that your ball will break right to left.

Amount of Break

The amount of break depends on: 

  • The degree of the slope
  • The influence of the grain, if any,
  • How hard you putt your ball.

Having a mental picture of the green divided into Putting Zones with a knowledge of the predominant fall line in each zone will improve the probability of a correct read.

This technique is not infallible, but it is certainly better than just hitting and hoping.

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Related Topics

fall line

Green Reading

Putt Reading

mapped each zone