While it's mostly a matter of gravity, reading a green's break is a skill that eludes many players. Not knowing where or how much a putt will curve puts you at a severe disadvantage, especially on lengthier tries where a small misjudgment can equal an error of several feet.
You should start reading a green before stepping foot on it.
Survey the surrounding area as you walk toward the green, locating the highest and lowest points and other factors that may influence the ball’s roll. For instance, a bunker with a high lip will often create a downhill slope away from the sand.
Always remember: Most greens tilt in a general direction, usually from back to front. Once on the putting surface, look at the cup to see if it’s leaning one way or another.
Here’s a handful of info points to help you better read greens – and avoid costly three-putts:
1. Putts often break toward the closest body of water, or away from a large landform like a mountain or prominent hill.
2. Play more break when greens are firm and/or dry.
3. Play less break when greens are soft and/or damp.
4. Play more break when putting downhill, less when putting uphill.
Thomas Golf Putters
Traditional, Mid-Length/Belly & Long Putters