How to read a putting green – part two


“A tap-in is a putt that is short enough to be missed one-handed.”Henry Beard

By Ian Hardie

In the post How to read putting green

I had two bits of advice that I talked about

The first was to start looking at the overall slope of the green

As you approach it from the fairway

And the second bit of advice was that

If you are new to ‘reading golf greens’

Or you just aren’t sure that you can see

How the slope of the green will affect your ball on a particular putt

Then the best thing to do is to

Get out ‘your bucket of water’ out and ‘tip it’ on the green

If you happened to miss that first post, to make sure that you

Don’t start tipping ‘actual’ buckets of water all over the greens next time you play

You can read it here

So back to reading putting greens

After figuring out the slope of the green and the effect it may have on your putt

The next most important thing you need to learn is how

To figure out if the grain of the grass on the putting green

Will have any effect on your putt and if you think it might

To try and judge just how dramatic that it may be

As the ball makes its way to the hole

Now before you start thinking

‘This is too hard, I’m going to keep aiming straight at the hole’

There is a little bit of good news

As even though there are many different grasses and variations

Used on putting greens around the world

There are basically only two dominant types of grass in use

“Creeping” Bentgrass and Bermuda Grass

Question is which one are you putting on?

The reason why you want to know that is fairly simple

Bentgrass and all its different variations

Is a grass that acts completely differently to what its name suggests

As its tendency is to grow straight up

So why it’s even called Bentgrass would be a good question

And if anyone reading this can answer that I’d appreciate it

Anyway due to the fact that it grows straight up

It’s generally easier to maintain and cut short

As well as having one more distinct advantage for golfers

It doesn’t really grow with very much grain

This means that in general a Bentgrass green

Or one of the many grass varieties that are related to it

Is the preferred surface for most golfers to putt on

As the grain of the grass is generally not much of a factor when lining up putts

As opposed to the other main type of grass – Bermuda

Which grows more horizontally apparently and as a result

Tends to make the putting surface grainy and bumpy

As well as being significantly more difficult to read

So why aren’t Bentgrass and all its variants the standard grass around the world?

Temperature and growing conditions, it appears holds then answer to that one

Bentgrass does well in areas where the climate ranges between cool and warm

Bermuda however, grows exceptionally well in areas of high heat

Which I’m sure you can guess is where a lot of golfers prefer playing

I assume it’s because they have read this post rather than anything to do

With the amount of golf courses around the world in equatorial regions

As opposed to the smaller number of courses as you head towards the poles of the earth

So it seems that even though most of us would prefer to putt on bentgrass greens

If we want to play golf in some exceptionally nice locations around the world

We will need to figure out how to read Bermuda greens

Much like the one in the image at the start of this post

If you take a good look at it

You will see that one part of the green looks shiny and the other part looks a bit dull

It’s a Bermuda grass green

But which way is the grain growing and how will it affect the putt?

I’ll let you know in ‘How to read a putting green – part three’

Until then

Play well


Related Posts

How to read a putting green

Three tees to better putting

My best ever simple putting tip

Why you should never watch another golfer putt