Green Basics: 3 Tips for Beginners

Adrian Rubin

Mark That Ball

Although this may seem like a small detail, this is a critical habit to get into, no matter what level you are playing. Before picking up your ball, make sure that you place a small coin or ball marker behind the ball before you pick it up. Once it’s your’ turn to putt, you can then have the ball resume its original location before picking up the mark. If your marker somehow obstructs your partner’s line, just make sure to choose a stationary object, like a tree, so that you can still line your ball mark up with it and then move it x number of putter heads ot the right or left. Always return your ball to its initial spot. Again, this may seem like a relatively small note, but marking your ball correctly is a critical skill to develop from the beginning.

Reading the Green

The process of reading putts starts as soon as you step onto the green. Make sure that you are paying attention the topography of the green, where it slopes and peaks. And while others putt out, subtly start to ready your putt without distracting your golf companions. This helps reduce the lag time between set-ups. You should aim to develop a routine in how you read putts. First, look from behind the ball, then scan to the low side of the putt. Really observe your surroundings and try to figure out if you can tell how fast the green is. A general rule to note is that the faster the green is, the more likely that the putt will break. However, keep in mind that this is not the case on Bermuda grass, because it is more grainy, in turn affecting the putt.

 Fixing the Divot

It’s important to keep in mind that whenever a ball lands on a green it will most likely leave a mark. These indentations are to be expected and easy to repair, but if left unattended to, they can damage the green. Because of this, take responsibility for your ball and be prepared to repair these indentations. To fix this very common problem, come prepared with a divot repair tool – or just use the tee. Stick your tool of choice into the turf surrounding the outside of the mark. Then carefully lift that tightly packed soil in order to loosen it and move around the entire circumference surrounding the ball dent. Now simply tap your putter on the turf so that the former dent is filled in and even with the rest of the turf. Although you many not fix any spike marks during your game, it’s good practice and common courtesy to repair any marks you see before leaving as long as it’s not preventing or holding up any play.