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Becoming A Better Putter

You read almost every putt, but if you’re like most players, your routine is guesswork disguised as green-reading. That won’t get you close to the hole, let alone “in.” You’re not the only one reading, and weeping, on the greens.

A new Golf Magazine study shows that America is massively misjudging the slope under its collective FootJoys, under-reading putts by a whopping 65 percent, on average. As a new season beckons, now’s the time to raise your reading level—and save a fistful of strokes. PGA Tour star Adam Scott has cracked the code, becoming the world’s best green-reader, so start by trying the 11-time Tour winner’s groundbreaking method.

Beyond Scott, we have six more easy-to-learn techniques from golf’s keenest putting minds. You’ll soon detect the subtlest bumps, bends and breaks, learning to read the trickiest greens as if they have subtitles.

FIRST THINGS FIRST: We Seriously Under-Read Our Putts!

Sixty-five percent of golfers under-read the break on a typical putt, according to a Golf Magazine–sponsored study conducted at the Pinehurst Golf Academy. All of these flawed reads add up to lots of lost strokes, even with perfect putting technique. In our study, we assessed the green-reading skill of 72 golfers just like you. Initially, our research team simply sought to determine the ideal position from which to accurately detect slope (behind the hole, behind the ball, etc.), but results showed view position to be meaningless to good green-reading. Our study subjects misread everything, no matter where they stood or crouched. Some 25 years ago, Dave Pelz told everyday players to triple the amount of break they saw, and that’s as true now as it was then.

-by David DeNunzio