Reading the Burrows

1) Line comes first

Putting counts for about 43% of your shots out on the course, and while breaking putts can be quite tricky, there are always ways to improve how you read putts with big movements. Although pace and line are obviously closely related, for me, the key rules of putting are –

1) Read the line first of all

2) Work very hard on lining the putter up so you start the ball on the right line

3) Think about the pace of the putt.

2) Find the break point

One of the keys to reading severely breaking putts well is to switch your focus away from the hole, and look much more at the break point or apex of the putt. That will be above the hole to varying degrees, of course, but depending on the putt you have, it could be 5ft, 10ft, maybe even 20ft short of the hole too. It’s the point where the ball will start its final move towards the hole, and you should then putt to that break point or apex.

3) Point of entry

Once you’ve done this, it will be obvious that the ball will not be entering the front of the hole as you look at it, however, one side or the other. So work out your entry point into the hole, using something to help visualise that in practice. I have a little aid that does that perfectly, which is simply to use a couple of tees forming an entry gate around the hole. The entry point might be at 4 o’clock relative to where you’re standing, or even 3 o’clock on big-breaking putts. But if you look only at the front of the hole, you’re always going to miss breaking putts low.

4) When putts break more

Downhill putts that you hit more gently will break a little bit more, and uphill putts a little less as you’ll be hitting the ball more firmly. It’s the same with green speed. When you go to other golf clubs and their greens are much slower than your club’s, you may need to halve the borrow because there’s more resistance in the grass. Fast greens, where the grass is short, will produce much bigger movements.

5) Find time to practice

Your home club may not have too many greens with burrows in them, so if you’re playing away somewhere and you know the greens are going to have burrows, I would recommend trying to get there a bit earlier and spend 20/30 minutes testing out the slopes so you don’t get caught out on the course. If you work hard on getting a feel for the burrows, you shouldn’t fall prey to too many three putts when you’re out there for real, putting on their tricky greens.

Thank you very much for reading this week’s weekly top tip. If you wish to know more or need some help understanding how to read greens, then please call me on 01983 613131 and we can get you booked in for a golf lesson.