Improve Your Putting: Reading the Break
Learning how to read the break on a putt is one of the fundamentals of improving your overall golf game and score. More strokes are lost on the green
than most of us want to admit.
Taking back those strokes, by making our putts, is one of the best ways to improve handicaps and daily scores,
and learning to read the break on a putt is paramount to putting improvement.
For new golfers, that term "reading the break" may be a bit confusing. Reading the break is simply determining
the undulations on the green between where your ball sits and the cup. There are a few things you want to look for
when you are reading the green. They are:
The length of the grass: Higher grass will slow the ball, and slower moving ball will break more than a faster
Wetness: A damp green will also slow the ball, resulting in the same as we mentioned above.
Slope: There might be a variety of slopes between your ball and the cup. You need to assess them all and adjust
your target line to compensate for them.
The Grain of the Grass: Grass on a green has a grain pattern to it. You may be putting with the grain, against
the grain, or sideways to the grain. Putting into the grain will result in a slower ball and thus result in more
break, especially as the ball slows to a stop.
It should be noted right here that learning to read the break is best accomplished with practice and experience.
Even the best pros will struggle with breaking putts, and they practice everyday!
Here are some tips to help you read the break:
Any golf ball that is traveling along a slope will break more the slower it is moving. This is one of the major
reasons so many breaking putts miss on the low end of the cup.
In order to overcome the ball breaking too much, too soon, you have to hit the ball with enough force to keep it
moving along the slope until it just reaches the cup and then falls in at a 90 degree angle.
Reading the break is best done from a low angle. In other words, squat down, and use your putter as a brace to
keep you steady. From this low position you can see the surface of the green much better as well as get a better
sense of the grain of the grass.
Reading the break is often best accomplished by taking a good look from both the front and the back of the putt.
This is why you often see pros moving to the far side of their putt. They are getting all the information on the
break, not just the information on their intended target line.
For really tricky putts, you can also squat down and read the green from both sides. This is a very good way to
tell if the putt is uphill or downhill, when you are not sure.
Remember, most breaking putts fall short on the low side of the cup. When you do your practice putting, keep
track of how many putts roll south of the cup and by how much. This information can be very useful when you begin
to work on your distance control for breaking putts.
Always keep in mind that the best way to master the breaking putt is to practice a variety of breaks on the
practice greens. Nothing can replace hands-on experience when it comes to breaking putts.
Remember also that the guys at "Putting To Win" know how to teach putting well and they offer a great guide.
Check them out: