This Week’s Top Tip
How to Read Breaking Putts
1) Line comes first
Putting equates to about 43% of your total shots out on the golf course, and while breaking putts can be quite daunting, there are ways to improve how you read putts with large slopes and turns. Although pace and line are related, for me, the key rules of putting are:
1) Obtain the correct read and line of the putt
2) Get the putt starting on the correct line – putter aim is crucial here
3) Then it’s all about the pace
2) Find the breaking point of the putt
One of the most important things to do when reading a sloping putt is forget about where the hole is and focus on where the putt starts to break. That will be above the hole to varying degrees, of course, but depending on the putt you face, it could be 5ft, 10ft, maybe even 20ft short of the hole too. It’s the point where the ball will start its final turn towards the hole, and you should then putt to that break point.
3) Point of entry
Once you’ve found the breaking point, it will be obvious that the ball will not be entering the front of the hole as you look at it, but via one side or the other. Work out your entry point too, using something to help visualise that in practice. Using a couple of tees forming an entry gate around the hole will help you visualise this. If you are only looking at the front of the hole, you will always miss your putts on the low side.
4) When putts break more
Downhill putts that you hit more gently will break a little bit more, and uphill putts a little less as you’ll be hitting the ball more firmly. It’s the same with green speed. When you go to clubs with greens that are much slower than your club’s, you may need to halve the borrow because there’s more resistance in the grass. Fast greens, where the grass is short, will produce much bigger swings.
5) Find time to practise
At Hunley we are lucky to have a very good practise green, with different severity of breaks, uphill and downhill, a very useful place to practise. As I mentioned earlier, putting takes up around 43% of our strokes, so why not practise accordingly?
If you’d like to improve your putting skills I have a package involving 3 x 1 hour Putting Lessons. I will look at your grip, set up, getting the ball starting online, how to read putts and distance control. To book please email myself on [email protected]