Green Reading Myths that Endure

Good evening. On Facebook today a prominent golf magazine (there are basically two, they both have “Golf” in their name, but this one is more of a Digest, not a Magazine…..) re-posted an article from September 2009. It remains mostly irrelevant 8 years later. Let’s look at the basics of the article, where a prominent caddy of a prominent left handed player gives you the “rules” on how to succeed reading greens. On a side note, I truly believe the player is one of the most gifted players in history. The sections from the article are in bold, my humble opinion follows them.

First Sight is the Best Sight. False. No sight provides the best insight. Your eyes fool you. They are influenced by the environment around you, previous visual experiences, and one eye is more dominant than the other. Would you please find an AimPoint Clinic and just get on with it?

Read With Your Feet Too. Well I’ll be damned. Yes! By standing at the ball as he instructs, you won’t learn as much, but this at least provides hope for humanity. Would you please find an AimPoint Clinic and just get on with it?

Speed Doesn’t Always Kill. Ah yes, the “hit it firm and take the break out of it” advice. Sure, hit is as firm as you like. Just remember, at two feet past the hole, it’s about half the capture size. Three feet if it misses? Even less. Five feet? Hole go bye-bye. What’s amazing to me is that his player has probably had more lip outs than any prominent golfer in history, yet people still applaud this approach. Why shrink the hole? If slope exists, it exists. Can you not putt the ball at a better speed, with an intelligent read, and use the entire hole? The game is difficult enough with the hole 4.24 inches, much more daunting with a smaller hole. Purchase a “cup reducer” device sometime – it’s basically a flat doughnut that sits in the hole and makes the diameter smaller. Tougher than tough to make putts. Yet that’s why these guys are promoting. Lunacy. Would you please fine an AimPoint Speed Clinic and just get on with it?

Develop an Insurance Read. Huh? Guys, if you have confidence, one read is enough. By the way, there’s a group waiting behind you whilst you keep fiddle faddling about your first and second reads.

The Best Look – Behind the Hole. Puhleeze. Will you stop using your eyes only, traipsing around until you find a read that you’re comfortable with? You are putty in the architect’s hands, as they probably considered that the putt will look different from different angles. In the first five minutes of the AimPoint Clinic you booked, you will view advice like this as embarrassing.

Be Wary of Plumb-Bobbing. This one is right up there with be wary of the Boogeyman, Bigfoot, and airborne pigs. Defenders of this “art” inform me that it “tells them which way the putt breaks every time.” Terrific. Any idea how much it breaks? Go squint as much as you want with that putter you bought on the infomercial extended in front of you. It ain’t gonna make any true reads. By the way, in my homeland of Euphemia (look it up) there are lads who use sticks to “witch” for water (i.e. using the stick they can tell where water exists underground so they can drill a well). Stop laughing, plumb-bobber – this is you reading a 10 footer for bogey.

Know the Local Topography. Yes! My personal favourite. Network telecasts constantly remind you about the special powers of Rae’s Creek, Indio, the Vegas Strip, the corpulent gent at the ice cream stand, the list goes on and on. These highly special landmarks are veritable magnets for your golf ball! It never fails! Hilarious, and yet sad. Golf greens are not designed to break uniformly toward any one entity. If they did you would see ridiculously low scores. Go to your putting green or any green on your golf course. If you can state that even one entire green breaks in only one direction, I hope that the course record is in the high 50’s. Did I tell you to find an AimPoint Clinic yet?

Respect the Comebacker. Well looky here. I agree. Work on your speed. Randomize your distances with every putt in practice outside of 4 feet to develop your touch. Include uphills and downhills. Remember, that third putt is basically a penalty stroke! By the way, I should mention that AimPoint now has Speed Clinics too.

Look, there is no doubt that the authors genuinely mean well. I know I’m starting to sound like the old dude yelling at kids to keep off my lawn. But you must separate fact from fantasy, and sooooo much of golf instruction is based on decades old ideas that don’t hold up well when scrutinized.

We can do better than this. For realsies.

Thanks for reading – you’re the only one that made it through the entire post!

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