Ask any pro and they undoubtedly will tell you that nothing is scarier than staring down a 10-foot putt with the tournament on the line. Some, like Tiger Woods, make it look effortless. But if you've been following a pro with a bad case of the yips, you know that the green can be a scary place. There are many factors that play into bad putting. Don't let an inability to read the greens be one of them.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Get behind your ball. The best way to do this is to get down on your haunches so that you're looking over your ball at the hole. By being down closer to the ball level, you can see the angles of the green. This will be invaluable in knowing which way the ball is going to run once you stroke it.
Check the green's slope. It's not enough to worry about your ball traveling from side to side, you also have to take into account whether you are putting up hill or down. Downhill putts can be tricky. The slightest miscalculation can send your ball whizzing past the hole and leave you a tough putt coming back. Uphill is easier because the ball will not roll under its own momentum. Thus you can be a little less precise.
Check the line from the hole to the ball. Do this by standing on the opposite side of the green with the hole between you and the ball. Now you're getting another vantage point to take into consideration. This could alter your perception of the putt that you face.
Check the wind. Surprising as it sounds, wind can affect the path of a ball, even on a green. It's not much to account for but, nonetheless, you should be prepared for a slight alteration in course if the wind is strong enough.
Look for past putts. Unless it's the crack of dawn, chances are that others have starred down the same putt. Oftentimes a green will give hints of this with a slight discoloration where the ball rolled. If you can find these previous putts, you can get an idea of how others saw the green before you and possibly make the right read.
Check the cut. The green length will have a lot to say about how hard or soft you need to hit the ball. Longer greens will be slower, so more power is needed to accomplish the job. One nice thing about a longer cut is that it is more forgiving, especially when facing a downslope.
Tips & Warnings
Keep your eyes on the ball all the way through your putt. This will ensure solid contact when the putt is attempted.
Always repair your divots. One of the toughest obstacles to overcome when putting is a divot left by a previous golfer.