Putting Greens & Putting Performance

Because the player is not permitted to test the speed of a green by rolling another ball nor is he allowed to check the grain of the green by scraping the surface, he must become an expert in quickly and accurately judging the condition of the putting surface at a glance.

No two greens are exactly alike in plain qualities and often the same green can be changed considerably in playing qualities in a very short period of time. Climactic conditions have a great deal of effect on whether a green is fast or slow. Changing the position of the cup on the green can also affect the speed and role of your putt in addition to changing your method of approaching the green. Up hill, down hill, and sidehill putts all present their own peculiar problems.

What Makes a Green Fast?

A fast green results from several different causes. A dry, hard pack surface will be a very fast green. If the grass on the green has been closely mowed or recently mowed, you’ll be facing a fast green. If you’re putting with the grain of the grass, the ball will roll faster. Wind, too, affect putts, although not as greatly as it affects the other shots. When putting under these conditions, your backswing need not be quite as far or your stroke quite as firm as for a normal putt.

What Makes Greens Slow?

If you’re playing golf early in the morning or after a heavy rain, you’ll notice the greens will be very slow and sometimes soggy. The same applies if the greens have been recently watered. Greens are also slow if the grass is comparatively long. Under any of these conditions, your stroke must be a bit harder and firmer than for a putt on a normal green. Putting against the grain also slows down the ball and must be considered in stroking the putt.

Putting Uphill

When making an adjustment to your putting stroke when putting uphill it is advisable to grip the putter a bit more firmly. On every putt, try to give the ball enough power to carry it to the hole and about a foot beyond the hole. This will serve to overcome the normal tendency of falling short on an uphill putt.

Putting Downhill

When putting down hill you do not have to hold the putter as firmly as you would on a level putt. However, don’t hold the club loosely! If you relax your grip too much, the ¬†club will turn in your hand at contact. another putting tip to a tall player is to use a longer putter if you are more than 6 feet tall. If you’re tall and try to get into a comfortable stance with the regular shafted putter, you may find the position to be cramped and strained causing tension in your putting stroke. The opposite will apply if you are exceedingly short, look for a shorter shafted putter that will fit your body type.

Putting Over a Sidehill

This is one phase of putting which you must learn for yourself through practice and experience. No one else can help you with this. It takes plenty of practice to judge accurately the correct line for a sidehill putt. You must consider the condition and grain of the green along with the slope of the hill. One thing to avoid in all putts is the tendency to shorten your swing after the ball is then struck. The ball should be hit smoothly, and the motion of the swing carried through to its normal conclusion.