Being able to read the green properly will allow you to become a better golfer. Otherwise, your putt may break when you expect it to roll straight. Green reading is the process of training your brain to be able to read the grass and topography.
Green Reading Terminology
A "break" refers to the way in which the grass will pull your golf ball. The break is controlled by the grain and the shape of the green. The grain is the texture of the grass based on the direction that it is leaning. It can be tricky to figure out how to read the green, but there are several tricks you can use to make it easier.
The Direction of the Green
To read the green, you'll need to look in the direction of the green. Walk around the green until you notice that the grass is lighter. When the grass has become lighter, you are looking in the direction of the grain. However, when the grass looks darker, you are looking against the grain. If you put with the grain, the ball will move faster. Putting against the grain will cause it to move slower. Accounting for this can help you ensure that you'll hit the ball with the right force.
Before hitting the ball, walk around the put and examine it from different angles. You can do this while your partners are busy putting. When you hit the ball in such a way that makes it move faster, the grass will not have time to grab the ball. As a result, the ball will be less likely to be pulled off course.
The Low Point
Find the low point. Putting greens are designed to allow water to easily roll off them. Find out the direction that the water travels in and find the lowest point of the green. The ball will break at this point. If you're not sure which direction the water will run, try to visualize a bucket of water being poured onto the putting green.
Once you have a sense of how to read the green, make sure to practice. The more rounds of golf you play, the easier it will be to analyze the green. However, don't look at the green too much because you may over-analyze it and start to lose your ability to perceive it properly. Pay attention to your gut when putting.
To find out more information about green reading, reach out to a professional near you.