16 Tour Pro Green Reading Tips

Simple advice from the pros on how you can hole more putts

Henrik Stenson of Sweden lines up a putt on the 18th green on Day One of The 151st Open at Royal Liverpool Golf Club on July 20, 2023 in Hoylake, England.
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Learning to read greens properly is one guaranteed route to lower scores. And who better to ask for advice than some of the best golfers in the world...

Henrik Stenson

Look to see where the lowest point of the green surface is. It’s most likely that the ball will want to move in that direction.

Sergio Garcia

I like to look at putts from behind the hole and from the low side. The main thing to remember is the middle part of the putt is the most important – it’s where most of the break is going to be.

Rafa Cabrera Bello

Start the process of reading the green when you are walking up to it. You can often get a better idea of the general direction of slopes from afar. Up close you can see smaller slopes and breaks, but further away you get a feel for what the entire green is doing.

Eddie Pepperell

I heard this from Rickie Fowler, I think. He reads the last part of the putt first. Look at the last three feet and see what’s it going to do at the hole, then work your way back. This really helps you to visualise a putt.

Thomas Pieters

I take a point roughly two feet in front of the hole where I think the ball needs to roll over to have a chance, and just focus on that point and where the ball is going to enter the hole. It's called the 'quiet-eye' so it's more intuition-based.

Branden Grace

Read your putts in sections. Start close, then work your way back through it and pick your spots. Try to then hit your spot in every section. So if you have a ten-footer, divide it into three sections

Graeme McDowell

A lot of players under-read putts, especially left-to-righters. Aim outside the hole if you have to and then concentrate on the speed.

Oli Fisher

Look at the green before you actually get to it. This will help you get a feel for the general lie of the land and your surroundings.

Ryan Fox

New Zealand's Ryan Fox celebrates after holes his putt on the 18th to win the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Golf Club, south-west of London, on September 17, 2023.

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Look at it from more than one angle. I start behind the hole then walk around the low side to get an overall picture. From the low side you often get a good idea of speed and where the apex is.

Alexander Bjork

I always read putts from the low side as I think you see more of how the green is shaped. If you’re standing over the ball on a downhill putt, you’ll gauge it’s downhill, but from the low side the size of slope is more obvious.

Adrian Otaegui

Once you've assessed the slope, choose a point halfway between your ball and the hole and stay focused on that. Putting is easy - it's just line and speed. Once you have your spot, don't start second-guessing yourself. Commit to it and your putting will improve.

Lucas Bjerregaard

I do this little exercise where I pick a spot about halfway to the hole which I think the ball needs to roll over. I put two tees down like a gate and I try to hit it in between those two tees. From there you can see if the read is any good or not. If you do that for about half an hour it will definitely improve your green reading.

Chris Paisley

I’d say 99 per cent of the time amateurs under-read putts, so I’d spend some time on the putting green checking where your ball really starts. Allow perhaps another 50 per cent break on what you usually think

Soren Kjeldsen

Trust your instinct. Go with what your eyes initially see, rather than looking for something that isn’t there second time around.

Alvaro Quiros

It’s a very tricky thing. I think there are people who have the ability to read greens better, but clearly the only way to improve is to practise. We play all kinds of different greens on the European Tour, so sometimes the grain of the grass is difficult to judge. But with time and practice you will be able to read greens properly.

David Lipsky

I try to find a point a foot or so in front of the hole where I know if the ball crosses that point, it will go in. I then work my way back from the hole through that point.

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV