How To Read Greens And Hole More Putts

PGA pro Katie Dawkins has some simple advice on how to read greens better and hole more putts

How to read greens

Reading greens is often a challenge for golfers, with many leaving it too late to see the true undulations that face them. For example, once on the green and crouching down behind a putt, subtle slopes and dips can easily go unnoticed.

So in this article, PGA pro Katie Dawkins shares her green-reading tips that will get you started on the way to holing more putts and shooting lower scores...

I highly recommend checking out the lie of the land from afar. Once you’ve hit your approach shot your reading radar should kick into action as you watch the ball scamper up there. If you watch carefully as your ball rolls up to or onto the green you’ll already have an idea of how your putt (or chip) is going to behave.

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As you get closer to the green take a moment to assess the area. Almost as if taking a panoramic photo with your mind, scan from one side of the green and its surrounding areas to the other.

How to read greens

Scanning the lie of the land before you get to the green will improve your green-reading ability

Suddenly you’ll notice water hazards, natural and man-made, and be aware that the ground most likely slopes towards where the water collects. Warning: this won't be the case 100 per cent of the time so be on the lookout for exceptions.

You’ll also start to see where the natural topography of the land moves to and from, where the biggest slopes are, and where gravity would be inclined to take your ball.

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Do the same if you have a chip or even a pitch shot shot upcoming as you still need to settle on a decent read if you want your ball to end up close to the hole.

So get your beady eyes assessing the surrounding ground and look at the bigger picture. You’ll be more prepared once you get onto the green and be more confident in your choice of line, which is only going to result in more holed putts.

Katie Dawkins
Advanced PGA Professional and freelance contributor

Katie is an Advanced PGA professional with over 20 years of coaching experience. She helps golfers of every age and ability to be the best versions of themselves. In January 2022 she was named as one of Golf Monthly's Top 50 Coaches.

Katie coaches the individual and uses her vast experience in technique, psychology and golf fitness to fix problems in a logical manner that is effective - she makes golf simple. Katie is now based at the stunning Hamptworth Golf Club on the edge of the New Forest. An experienced club coach, she developed GardenGOLF during lockdown and as well as coaching at Hamptworth she freelances, operating via pop-up clinics and travelling to clients homes to help them use their space to improve. 

She has coached tour pros on both LET tour and the Challenge Tour as well as introduced many a beginner to the game. 

Katie has been writing instructional content for magazines for 20 years. Her creative approach to writing is fuelled by her sideline as an artist.