Adjust Your Putts as Green Speed Changes!

Adjust Your Putts as Green Speed Changes!

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Putting

In the course of a 4- or 5-hour round, green speed changes. A lot. That’s why you need continuous feedback on green speed.

Have you ever had a round where there was a series of holes where you were putting great, but before those holes and afterwards, your putting was average at best—or worse?

Odds are you, have. And the reason could well be that for that series of holes, the green speed was a match for the amount of break you anticipated.

In the course of a 4- or 5-hour round, green speeds can change drastically. In the morning, the air is moist, greens are damp, and a ball breaks least. In the afternoon, greens have dried out. On the same slope, from the same distance, the ball breaks a lot more.

So even if you had a good feel for green speed on the putting green, by the time you get to the 3rd or 4th hole things have already begun to change. And by the end of the round, they may well have changed a lot.

But here’s the thing:

  1. You can’t see green speed. You can see the slope of the hill, and you can feel it in your feet, but you can’t see or feel how fast it is.
  2. You can’t very well measure the change, either. You could try carrying around a weather kit to gauge air temperature and moisture level, but in the end you would still be guessing.

That’s why you need continuous feedback on green speed, as the round progresses.

If you’re not getting it, your ability to “read the green” does little good, because the break you read this morning will behave differently in the afternoon.

If you are getting it, then you are unconsciously making small micro-adjustments throughout the round.  As greens get faster, you allow for slightly more break and putt with slightly less force. As they get slower, you aim for less break, and putt with more force.

The way it works is this:

  1. After each putt, you determine whether your read or speed was off (or both), and by how much.
  2. You simply catalog that information, and let your natural instincts make the required adjustment(s) on your next putt.

From putt to putt, and from green to green, the adjustments are small. But by the end of the round, the accumulation can add up to a significant difference. It can mean the difference between making a lot of putts, and missing them.

The question, in the end, is this:

Is the ability to gauge green speed a mysterious “feel” that only a few ever acquire? Or is it something you can learn?

The answer is that it can be learned, and rather easily. For a summary of what you need to do, read the short Putting Series at this site. For a detailed discussion of how and why they work (plus many additional tips on reading greens and putting), read my book: Comprehensive Keys to the Green, available at Amazon.

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