A Simple Process Reading Greens 


We need to learn a lot about reading greens, but you still need to have a process for reading each putt that you encounter during a round. We are going to change that in this section. Feel free to use the process below to approach each of your putts. When executed properly, this process is going to make sure you have all the information you need to make a quality read time after time.

  • As you walk up onto the green, the first thing you should do is mark and clean your ball. Once your ball is cleaned, place it back down on the green – but leave your mark in place. This is nothing more than a safety measure. If you accidently move your ball while it is still marked, there will be no penalty and you can simply replace the ball.
  • With the ball cleaned, you should head immediately up to the hole. Stand behind the hole on an extension of the putting line and crouch down for a better view. From this angle, you are going to determine what you expect the ball to do as it approaches the cup. At this time, you should be able to determine which side of the hole is the low side.
  • To walk back to the hole, you are going to walk on the low side. Stop halfway back to the ball and evaluate the elevation change of the putt. Once you figure out how much uphill or downhill slope is involved, finish your walk by arriving behind the ball.
  • Crouch down again, this time behind the ball, and finalize your read. At this point, you should be picking an exact target line that you will use for the putt.
  • With all of the green reading out of the way, you can stand up, make a couple practice strokes, and proceed with the putt. Remember, when you stand over the ball, you don’t want to look back and forth between the ball and the cup itself. Instead, you should be looking up from the ball to find the spot that you are aiming at, either to the right or left of the hole.

In total, this process should not take much time, and it will provide you with all the information you need (more on saving time in the next section). At first, you might need to think through each of the steps as you go through them, but the process will become second-nature in short order. Pretty soon, you won’t really have to think about going through the green reading progression – it will just happen naturally and you’ll have all the information you need within moments.


Reading greens is a crucial skill in golf, and having a simple process can help you assess the slope and make more accurate putting decisions. Here's a straightforward process for reading greens:

  1. Approach the Green:
    • As you approach the green, observe the overall contour and topography. Pay attention to any noticeable slopes or breaks in the terrain.
  2. Assess the Surroundings:
    • Look at the area around the hole to identify any subtle slopes or breaks. The way the grass leans or any visible undulations can provide clues about the green's slope.
  3. Behind the Ball:
    • Stand behind your ball and take a moment to visualize the line from your ball to the hole. Look for high points, low points, and any slopes in between. Imagine the ideal path for the ball to take.
  4. Read from the Low Side:
    • Walk around to the low side of the putt (usually opposite the direction of the break). This perspective can give you a better sense of the overall slope and how the ball is likely to break.
  5. Crouch or Kneel:
    • Get low to the ground and crouch or kneel behind your ball to get a closer look at the slope. This perspective can reveal subtle breaks that may not be as apparent from a standing position.
  6. Read the Grain:
    • In some cases, especially on slower greens, the grain of the grass can influence the ball's roll. Determine the direction of the grain and consider its impact on the putt.
  7. Pick a Spot:
    • Choose a spot on the intended line, a few feet in front of your ball. This spot becomes your target for aiming. Focus on rolling the ball over that spot to account for the break.
  8. Visualize the Roll:
    • Before addressing the ball, take a moment to visualize the entire putt. Picture the ball rolling smoothly along the intended line and into the hole.
  9. Align Your Putter:
    • Align your putter face with the chosen line and the spot you picked on the green. Ensure your feet, hips, and shoulders are parallel to the intended path.
  10. Execute with Confidence:
    • Trust your read and execute the putt with a confident and smooth stroke. Avoid second-guessing yourself once you're over the ball.

Remember that reading greens is a skill that improves with practice. The more you pay attention to the contours of different greens and gain experience, the better you'll become at making accurate reads. Additionally, factor in the speed of the greens, as faster greens tend to accentuate slopes and breaks.

Here's a Q&A on a simple process for reading greens:

Q: Why is reading greens an important skill in golf? A: Reading greens is crucial because it helps golfers assess the slope and breaks, allowing them to make accurate judgments about the line and speed of their putts. This skill significantly influences putting success.

Q: What is the first step in the process of reading greens? A: The first step is to approach the green and observe the overall contour and topography. Look for noticeable slopes, breaks, and any surrounding features that may affect the putt.

Q: Why is it beneficial to assess the surroundings of the hole? A: Assessing the surroundings helps golfers identify subtle slopes or breaks around the hole. Understanding the overall topography near the target can provide valuable insights into how the ball might break.

Q: Why is standing behind the ball important when reading greens? A: Standing behind the ball allows golfers to visualize the line from their ball to the hole. It helps in imagining the ideal path for the ball and considering any breaks or slopes along that line.

Q: Why should golfers read putts from the low side? A: Reading putts from the low side (opposite the direction of the break) provides a better perspective on the overall slope of the green. It enhances the golfer's ability to see how the ball is likely to break.

Q: Why is crouching or kneeling behind the ball useful when reading greens? A: Crouching or kneeling provides a closer look at the slope and any subtle breaks on the green. This perspective can reveal details that may not be as apparent from a standing position.

Q: What role does grain play in reading greens? A: The grain of the grass can influence the ball's roll, especially on slower greens. Golfers should determine the direction of the grain and consider its impact on the putt.

Q: What is the purpose of picking a spot a few feet in front of the ball? A: Picking a spot on the intended line helps golfers create a specific target for aiming. Focusing on rolling the ball over that spot accounts for the expected break.

Q: Why is visualizing the entire putt important before addressing the ball? A: Visualization helps golfers mentally picture the entire putt, from the initial roll to the final destination. This mental rehearsal contributes to confidence and commitment in executing the putt.

Q: How does aligning the putter with the chosen line contribute to successful putting? A: Proper alignment ensures that the putter face is pointing in the intended direction. Aligning the putter with the chosen line, along with parallel feet, hips, and shoulders, sets the stage for an accurate and consistent stroke.

Q: What is the key to executing putts with confidence? A: Trusting the read and committing to the chosen line is essential for executing putts with confidence. Avoid second-guessing and focus on a smooth stroke.

These questions and answers highlight the key steps in a simple process for reading greens, helping golfers make more informed and successful putting decisions.