Use a Putting Clock Strategy to Read Greens

By Laird Small

How to Read the Break on a Green

Wow, I never saw that break. Well, that is the response we get a lot of time with these breaking putts. How do I read greens? How do I ever figure out that that putt was going to break that much. Let me give you a clue about how you can work towards figuring it out and you can start to make a lot more of these side hill breaking putts. It does not matter if they are right to left or left to right. Here is a key indicator for you.

Use a Putting Clock as a Frame of Reference

I have this little putting clock that you can use as a visual frame of reference and you want to imagine that is towards you is six o'clock, to the right of that is five four and three, and to the left is seven eight and nine. What your job is to imagine at what time that ball needs to go into the hole from.

You are then going to create a path or fairway back to your golf ball. So I am going to put this in the hole where six o'clock is pointing towards the ball. Now what my job is from imagination, creativity and experience is to be able to image where this ball is going to have to come in from. Based on the putt that we hit earlier it has to come in from about four o'clock. That is all the information I really need, then I can start to formulate a plan to try to send the ball up to that point. What will happen is your contact will get better, your speed will get better because everything is in service of hitting the ball up to four o'clock and having the ball come in from that area.

The Putting Clock Makes Breaks Easier to Read

Let's take a look at how I do. I am taking my set up and now I am looking at four o'clock and I am picturing a track from there back to here. I am not going from here to there, I am going from there to here because that where the ball is going to be spending its time, especially in the last few feet of the ball is going to be the majority of the break. From where the ball is up to about four feet from the hole there is not going to be very much break because the ball is going to be traveling at a higher rate of speed. As the ball starts to slow down that is where the break is going to become evident. That is why I am looking at the hole and drawing a path from it back, really paying attention to the last few feet the ball has to travel because that is where the majority of the break is going to be because the ball is slowing down and gravity is going to have a larger effect on what that ball is doing.

Success on Side Hill Putts

Let's take a look with a putt. I hit that one a little bit firm, let's try it again, that one has a chance. Well they did not go in but you can see that I had the ball playing with the right amount of break to give myself the best opportunity and the best chance. Give this a try. I know that you will find that you make a lot more of these side hill putts. When you play golf 90 percent of the putts that you take have some form of break to them. Give it a try.

Category: Reading Greens
Sub Categories: Alignment

About the Instructor

Laird Small
Laird Small
Pebble Beach Golf Academy
1700 17-Mile Drive
Pebble Beach, CA 93953
Tel: 831-622-8650