Check Break and Grain in 3' Radius Around Hole

Golf Sage - Thursday, May 02, 2013

CHECK BREAK AND GRAIN IN 3’ RADIUS AROUND HOLE
 
Concentrate on the 3’ radius around the hole.  This is the area where the ball is rolling slowly enough to be significantly affected by the break and grain.
 
 
Reading greens correctly is about accurate perception of the putts you face.  Get a side view of the terrain at the mid-point of the putt from the low side of the slope.  This vantage point will give you a great sense of how steeply uphill or downhill the putt must roll.  Get a view of the break and grain from behind the hole.  This vantage point should confirm what you see from behind the ball.  If there is a slight difference in the amount of break you read, rely on the amount of break you see from behind the hole.
 
Generally, uphill putts will break slightly less than your read, and downhill putts will break slightly more than your read.  This is because gravity lessens the break of an uphill putt and enhances the break of a downhill putt.
 
Generally, the speed with which you stroke the ball determines the amount of break you need to play.  The firmer you stroke the ball, the less it will break; the softer you stroke the ball, the more it will break.  The slower the ball is rolling, the more it will be affected by the slope of the terrain.
 
When putting on greens that are Bermuda grass, it is important to determine the direction the grain of the grass is growing.  When there is a body of water nearby, the grain usually grows in the direction toward the water.  If there is no water nearby, the grain usually grows in the direction toward the setting sun.  When you are putting with the grain, the surface of the green looks shiny.  When you are putting against the grain, the surface of the green looks dark.  Look very carefully at the direction the grass is growing over the edge of the hole to determine if the grain for your putt is growing with you, against you, left-to-right, or right-to-left.
 
When putting on greens that are Bermuda grass, once you have determined the direction the grain is growing, combine this with the amount of break you read and the amount of steepness uphill or downhill the putt has.
 
Here are some examples:  If your putt is uphill and against the grain, you need to stroke it very hard.  If your putt is downhill and with the grain, you need to stroke it very softly.  If your putt is uphill and with the grain or downhill and against the grain, stroke the ball like a level putt.  If your putt breaks left-to-right and the grain is growing left-to-right, play twice as much break as you read.  If your putt breaks left-to-right and the grain is growing right-to-left, play the putt straight at the hole.
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