I was playing golf with my father in law the other day and he was really dialed in to the pace of his putts, but he kept on missing them left and right. He finally confessed that he’s never really had a good way of reading greens or the finer details in his putts. This prompted me to share the strategy that I use with my daughter who’s eight years old.
At home during the Wisconsin winter we work on mechanics and how to make consistent contact in the middle of the putter face. Once the spring thaw hits we go out to the greens and work on interpreting the line and path of each putt. The best way I found to explain it was to break the putt down in sections. When you have a putt that’s under 10 feet and you can’t quite decide which way it breaks try breaking it into halves. Think about what would happen if you putted straight at the hole. How much would it break? Where would it end up? What would it look like half way through?
*Pro tip* The first half of the putt will not break as much as the second half because the ball will be moving faster.
Once you know where the first half of the putt will stop you want to imagine what would happen as it runs the rest of the way out. From there you simply look at how far below the hole the ball would’ve stopped. This tells you exactly how far left or right you need to aim.
The longer the putt gets the more sections you need to break it down into. For me I follow this handy guide.
10’ > read it in two stages
11’ – 30’ read it in three stages
30’ < read it in four stages
In the case of my father in law it was a blessing for him and a curse for me. He started making putts left and right and I lost the round. For my daughter it was an easy introduction to how things work around the green. See how this works for you and let me know what you think in the comments below.