How to Read Greens with Visuals
The following six steps are simple ways in which you can use your eyes to provide you with greater information and become better at reading greens, enable you to make clearer decisions and, ultimately, sink more putts.
1. Obtain as much information about the putt as possible by walking around it from different angles and seeing where the apex of the break occurs. Remember that your first look or instinctive hunch about where the ball wants to go is usually your best. Sometimes players get too analytical and psyche themselves out of the correct line when they had it right the first time they viewed it. After you see where the ball needs to go, get down low and behind the ball to obtain the best perspective. Four to five feet behind the ball is generally a good spot to read the ball-line from. A good example of someone who does this well is Nick Dougherty. He gets down low so that he can see the undulations and slopes of the green and ball/target line more clearly.
2. Make a firm decision where you want to start the ball and where it needs to go in order to follow the break into the hole. Commit to this decision and do not alter it when moving into the ball.
3. When moving into the ball, do not lose your perspective when standing up and moving into the address position. Stay committed to your ‘lowview’ perspective and do not allow yourself to doubt or mistrust your read when above the ball. Staying committed to this perspective is a vital key to making more putts
4. Aim your putter squarely along your ball-roll line. Use your eyes to track (move up and down the ball line to and from the hole) and gain an appreciation of the total distance the ball needs to travel.
5. Upon your last look at the hole or apex spot, move your eyes back to the ball and putt without delay. Many putts are mishit and missed due to golfers standing too long over the ball and allowing pressure to build and thus their target (or hole) awareness fades.
6. Watch the ball roll all the way into the cup and hold your finish. If the ball goes into the hole, you have a visual success picture to put into your memory bank. If the putt fails to fall and misses, it becomes vital that you watch what it does as it rolls by the hole. Most short comeback putts are missed due to a golfer not viewing the first putt until it stopped. By watching your putt slide by the hole, you have a better idea of what it will do on the next putt.