By: A.J. Avoli
Director of Instruction,
Omni La Costa Golf Performance Institute

Reading the greens is a vital skill that is derived from experience. Most amateurs tend to under read their putts.  It is easy to blame the technique or stroke when, often times, you have read the incorrect line, causing them to eventually make some type of compensation in their stroke.

Below are ten concepts to improve your basic green reading skills.

  1. The USGA recommends a slope of 2-inches for every 10 feet of green to promote surface drainage. Where would the water drain?
  2. Uphill, Downhill, Side-hill,. Determine these factors.
  3. Different types of grass and grain.
  4. Find the straight putt. If you know where the straight putt is it should be easy to read the break.
  5. Most greens are sloped back to front to accept a approach shot unless it’s a Redan Green.
  6. Look at the hole to find the grain. Also look at the cup bias, is it tilted in a particular direction?
  7. Look for high and low spots (topography of the green and its’ surroundings).
  8. Look at the overall slope, specifically the slope in the quadrant of the green your putt is located.
  9. If you are having trouble committing to a line, try using a line on the ball. Once the line is set,  your focus can be on speed control.
  10. Toss golf balls on the greens in practice to learn the breaks, tour players and caddies do this constantly.