Golf Green SpeedReader: Prepare before you play


The Goal: Gain an advantage before the first tee

Measure and practice your the golf course's practice green before you play

Learn the speed and practice making adjustments from your standardized putting stroke. Go get a step up on the competition and figure out the length of the backstroke and required adjustments before stepping onto the first green.


How to do it: Apply the drills

Measure the practice green and compare to your standardized putting stroke. Practice until you have made the proper adjustments to compensate for any differences in the green speed

Take about 5-10 minutes and apply some of the golf drills you used to develop your standardized putting stroke. Focus on how far back your backswing must be for different distances at this golf green speed. 

When you get to the first green, you should be able to leave any putt within a few feet of the hole from any difference. Remember, although it is nice to sink the first putt, the goal is the put the second putt inside your "tap-in" zone. That is the only true way to master the two-putt. 


The professional opinion: Exerpts from Golf Publications

Breaking 100-90-80 plus 70: your monthly guide to the scoring basics

Breaking 100

The two big variables on the green are the speed and firmness of the turf. Focus your pre-round practic e on getting a decent feel for pace before becoming target-oriented.

Don't putt to the hole

All putts are speed putts, because you have to know the speed of the putt to control distance and gauge break. The proper pace becomes instinctive on your home course, but if you play somewhere else it's easy to get thrown off track. Before your round, practice putting to nothing, and feel the pace of your putts by hitting uphill, downhill and sidehill.

Control the length of your stroke

The average golfer should concentrate on getting long putts within a six-foot circle around the hole. You tighten those parameters as you progress--just as you're trying to expand your tap-in range on short putts. If you're trying to break 100, your goal should be to get a 20- to 30-foot putt within three feet of the hole.

Practice lag putts from just beyond what you feel is your automatic two-putt range. Focus on swinging the putter to even lengths back and through, with the same steady pace throughout the stroke. Feel the length of stroke you need by swinging the putter over the ball as you're looking at the hole, your eyes over the target line (left). Get a feel for speed before worrying about the break.

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