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Youngest daughter continues to work on her golf game. Her ball striking everything from Driver through putter has gotten much better over the past year. Seems to be really enjoying it, and is having minor success (no medals yet but placing 2nd through 4th) in the few easy tournaments she has played.

 

Tried her first WGJA event last weekend and it is becoming apparent that her green reading needs a lot of help. Most of her bogeys or 3 doubles were due to a really bad lag putt and those are typically mis reads. I think the next big move in her game is to make better lag putts, and then start to make the crucial 10-12 footers for birdies. Everything in time. First I would like to help her get a system in mind for reading longer putts.

 

Any pointers?

Systems you guys use?

Links to videos, or books?

What helped your kid get better?

 

Thanks!

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For longer lag putts I go to a spot between 10-15 feet away from the hole that is between my ball and the hole and focus on reading that.  Break is not that important for the first 2/3 of a longer lag putt because speed is going to take away a lot of the break.  At that 10-15 foot range is where the pace should slow where the ball will be more influenced by break.  

 

For the 10-12 ft range putts and making more of those a drill I found that helps is to peg up a long tee in the green and practice trying to have the ball hit the tee.  This teaches the aim small/miss small principle.  Even if you miss the tee, if you are just missing by a ball on either side you are going to hole the putt.  

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I'll tell you how I learned to read greens (specifically long putts). It really helped me when I first started playing and I used this method all the way from junior golf to college golf to even now that I only play recreationally as an adult.

 

Break the putt down into halves (or thirds if it's a super long putt). Basically if you have a 30 footer, you want to start by reading the 15 feet closest to the cup. Visualize that line and where your ball will need to be at the 15 foot point (midway point) to go in the hole. Then read the second 15 feet (closest to where your ball mark is), and decide where to hit the putt in order to have it roll over that 15 foot point (midway point) you picked out in your mind.

 

That may not be the best explanation (it's easier to explain when you're standing on a green), but hopefully you understand what I'm getting at and it helps some. 

 

DISCLAIMER: If you don't get the speed right then line doesn't really matter anyway. Make sure she is at least competent with speed before you start working on the line. 

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1 hour ago, RmoorePE said:

Youngest daughter continues to work on her golf game. Her ball striking everything from Driver through putter has gotten much better over the past year. Seems to be really enjoying it, and is having minor success (no medals yet but placing 2nd through 4th) in the few easy tournaments she has played.

 

Tried her first WGJA event last weekend and it is becoming apparent that her green reading needs a lot of help. Most of her bogeys or 3 doubles were due to a really bad lag putt and those are typically mis reads. I think the next big move in her game is to make better lag putts, and then start to make the crucial 10-12 footers for birdies. Everything in time. First I would like to help her get a system in mind for reading longer putts.

 

Any pointers?

Systems you guys use?

Links to videos, or books?

What helped your kid get better?

 

Thanks!

 

1. Make 25 putts in a row (or at least 23 out of 25) from 3 feet straight.

2. Make 25 putts in a row (or at least 23 out of 25) from 4 feet straight.

3. Make 25 putts in a row (or at least 23 out of 25) from 5 feet straight.

 

Now start working on lag putting from 15,20,25,30 feet.  If your junior can get in the 3-5 foot circle on the lag, they will probably start making more 2-putts and avoid those dreaded 3-putts.  Repeat this process 3-5x/week.

 

Edited by wildcatden
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Putter - Ben Hogan by Bettinardi BHB5-SS

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45 minutes ago, hollabachgt said:

Green reading is 1 part visualization and 1 part experience. Or to put it another way, translating what you see into where the ball goes. I know that sounds vague and simplistic but in a lot of ways it can be.

 

There are quite a few drills that I will do to try and improve my green reading and lag putting that you can do with your daughter to help her develop the skill. Keep in mind, like most skills in golf the more one practices the more one will improve.

 

Drill 1- The Straight Putt: on the practice putting green ask your daughter to find a putt of about 10' in length that is slightly uphill and perfectly straight. By looking for the opposite of break you're encouraging her to recognize subtle break near the hole. Odds are it will take her a few attempt to find a perfectly straight putt, so encourage her to keep hunting. If she finds one that is close but not perfect, help her understand that if she moves a little left or a little right that may help to straighten out the putt. When she finds a straight putt, perform a modified ladder drill where you putt along that line from various distances. As you exceed 10' eventually the putt will no longer be straight, try to identify the point it's no longer straight and what in the green is now influencing the break. This is allowing her to understand how to begin to read putts from the hole backwards. 

 

Drill 2- The Clock: similar to the clock drill that Phil often does, find a hole on a gentle break and place 12 balls around the hole in 4 positions about 6' away. From each spot hit 3 putts using different lines and speed. The goal is to recognize the impact changing either line or speed can have on a putt and to slowly improve your ability to match the two. Circle around the hole a few times, each time try to recall the best combo the previous visit and improve upon it.

 

Drill 3- Apex Point: Find a putt around 15' long with a continuous break to the left or right. From the hole, place a series of tee's in 1' intervals perpendicular to the direct line between the ball and the hole. These tees will be your apex point markers. Begin by hitting a putt while aimed at the first tee, when the putt breaks well under the hole, adjust to the next tee. repeat until you find the tee that gives you the best line to the hole, then using that tee and one on either side begin adjusting your speed to match the line to try and make the most putts. Use this drill to teach the concept of the apex point and how that point is the actual aiming location for a putt.

 

Later, repeat the same drill, but leave the tee's out. Ask her to try and identify spots on the green as potential apex points instead. This process can be taken even further when you apply uphill or downhill slope to the putt. for a downhill putt you'd identify an apex point that will be short of the hole, and for an uphill putt the apex point would be beyond the hole.

 

Drill 4- High Point: As an extension of the Apex Point drill, find a putt of around 30'. Ask your daughter to walk the putt and identify the high point along the putt. Once she finds the high point, putt a few balls from the high point to the hole, keeping note of the break of the putt. Now return to the original 30' mark and the putt balls to the high point. Your goal is to take a long putt and break it into 2 portions, the power portion is what it takes you to get the ball to the high point on the putt and the chase portion is momentum taking the ball down towards the hole. On a lag putt the goal is to give the putt a chance to go in but ensure it stops near the hole, so by identifying the high point and playing to it you're giving yourself the biggest margin possible. Your goal now it to get the ball to cross over a zone with minimum speed and allow gravity to do the rest.

 

You want to try and build the process from the hole backwards. Allow her to build her green reading in steps, this will make reading lag putts much easier. Try to make each drill interactive and putt with her to include a bit of competitive fun into the mix. This will also help as she watches you putt she'll try to determine your line and pace, trying to recreate your line and pace will help to teach her better hand-eye-coordination as well. 

Well done.

These are the most helpful drills I have ever heard of.

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If I was a young player learning I think I would go all in on aim point.  I don’t know if this is good advice or not because I don’t actually use it.  For a young player I really like the idea of having a system in place and this seems like a good prebuilt system. it seems that many players do better using their feet than their eyes, and if trained from a young age it just seems like it could be very effective.

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14 hours ago, tiger1873 said:

You can practice a lot and that is important but at the end of the day it's experience on different greens that helps.  This means you need to play courses in different states.  Until we travelled it seemed like it took half the round to adjust to speed.   

 

Fundamentally the skill of green reading is agnostic to different types of greens in different locals. If one was first beginning to learn how to effectively read break and determine speed it would be beneficial to do so in a controlled environment. But I will agree that the mastery of green reading is the implementation of that skill across a wide range of green designs and conditions. That can only be effectively learned once the base fundamentals are well learned and implemented.

 

 

8 hours ago, leezer99 said:

Speed is more important than green reading. Don’t let all this “advice” distract you from that fact. Reads change based on speed. 

 

Without any qualifiers, speed and line are as equally as important. As a putter you must develop a feel for the type of putts you're most comfortable hitting and adjust accordingly. That is why I recommended a couple of drills to help teach the combination of the two through multiple putting lines. A player who prefers to die the ball in the hole will have a much different relationship with speed and break than a player who prefers to run the ball into the back of the cup. Both can be effective ways to putt, but require a different mindset to be successful. 

 

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19 minutes ago, hollabachgt said:

 

Fundamentally the skill of green reading is agnostic to different types of greens in different locals. If one was first beginning to learn how to effectively read break and determine speed it would be beneficial to do so in a controlled environment. But I will agree that the mastery of green reading is the implementation of that skill across a wide range of green designs and conditions. That can only be effectively learned once the base fundamentals are well learned and implemented.

 

 

 

Without any qualifiers, speed and line are as equally as important. As a putter you must develop a feel for the type of putts you're most comfortable hitting and adjust accordingly. That is why I recommended a couple of drills to help teach the combination of the two through multiple putting lines. A player who prefers to die the ball in the hole will have a much different relationship with speed and break than a player who prefers to run the ball into the back of the cup. Both can be effective ways to putt, but require a different mindset to be successful. 

 

 

At the end of the day if you can't get the speed down your not going to make the putt.   It's actually not that hard to learn reading greens a few lessons on Aim Point or with a short game coach and most kids will get 95% of what it takes to read a green in no time at all.

 

You only get 1 chance in a tournament and that is far different then any practice or drill.  From experience you can have your kid do 2 or 3 hours a day with drills and still see them miss those 10 foot putts for birdie all the time in tournaments.   What will make you crazy is when you come home they will make it when they are doing drills.

 

You just have to play a lot different courses and tournaments for them to get better.  That means a lot time and money for travel and tournament fees.  We are grinding away a ton tournaments and  I am starting to see where putting has improved for my daughter and I am seeing massive improvement in the speed of putts. I see the same improvement with other kids who are out there grinding as many tournaments as they can.

Edited by tiger1873
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9 hours ago, leezer99 said:

Speed is more important than green reading. Don’t let all this “advice” distract you from that fact. Reads change based on speed. 

100% agree with this and the putting guru's as well as the stats will tell the same exact story.  More putts will be missed by poor speed than green reading.  More 3 putts are cause by pace control than alignment.  Green reading is definitely an art, however, if you don't have the speed right reading the greens doesn't matter.

 

https://www.paulhurrion.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/1-An-Investigation-into-Golf-Ball-Speed-at-Hole-Entry.pdf

 

https://www.paulhurrion.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/18-Lipstick-Drill.pdf

 

I love Dr. Paul Hurrion stuff.  Guy is a putting genius.  A lot of great stuff if you scroll down the front page of his website.

 

https://www.paulhurrion.com/

 

 

Edited by heavy_hitter
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A lot will disagree with me here but its not something you have to use 100% but aim point. Most people over use their eyes when reading greens when a huge part should be what you feel with your feel. Not saying you need to do the entire finger in the air thing. About a year or so ago my daughter when though one of the introductions to aim point. Really opened her eyes in terms of how to read greens (still a ways to go) but much better than before.  Regardless if you ever use it or not I think its great to go through one of the sessions to get a better understanding and can help you read greens in general better. 

 

All the advise above is great but you have to find the things that work with your kiddo. 

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16 minutes ago, darter79 said:

A lot will disagree with me here but its not something you have to use 100% but aim point. Most people over use their eyes when reading greens when a huge part should be what you feel with your feel. Not saying you need to do the entire finger in the air thing. About a year or so ago my daughter when though one of the introductions to aim point. Really opened her eyes in terms of how to read greens (still a ways to go) but much better than before.  Regardless if you ever use it or not I think its great to go through one of the sessions to get a better understanding and can help you read greens in general better. 

 

All the advise above is great but you have to find the things that work with your kiddo. 

 

Personally, I think there are parts of Aim Point that are important.  Learning to use your feet being the most important.  I don't buy into Aim Point as a hole.  Aim Point really slows down rounds and can't stand when my kid is partnered with someone using it.  The funny part is, I have never seen a great putter use the full routine.

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1 hour ago, tiger1873 said:

You only get 1 chance in a tournament and that is far different then any practice or drill.  From experience you can have your kid do 2 or 3 hours a day with drills and still see them miss those 10 foot putts for birdie all the time in tournaments.   What will make you crazy is when you come home they will make it when they are doing drills.

 

If your daughter makes 50% of her 10' putts, she'd rank in the top 20% on the PGA Tour. And this would be assuming the tournaments she's playing in is also using the PGA Tour's 3-4' consistent slope radius rule for their pin positions, which is not always the case for other events. Meaning even if she is a world class putter, it's hard to expect that she'll consistently pour in those 10' birdie putts under the heat of competition.

 

In my youth I was a traveling amateur, spending my summers traversing the country from event to event. I found that in my tournament prep I'd need to spend at least 3-4 hours on the putting green to tune my eyes and hands to the greens. But the ability for me to effectively perform on a new set of greens was still predicated in my fundamentals of reading greens that I developed on my home putting green. 

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8 minutes ago, heavy_hitter said:

 

Personally, I think there are parts of Aim Point that are important.  Learning to use your feet being the most important.  I don't buy into Aim Point as a hole.  Aim Point really slows down rounds and can't stand when my kid is partnered with someone using it.  The funny part is, I have never seen a great putter use the full routine.

 

Many of the top junior golfers in my kids' age groups use AimPoint to some degree.  The best of the best.

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Speed and learning to lag is key.

 

Always felt that pacing off a putt was a good practice.  If you know the speed for 14 paces. Then you're not leaving it 6 ft short or blowing it by.

 

You can get a feel for the number of paces on the practice green.

 

Also, looking at the green and thinking where the water would drain.  The ball is going to travel in the same direction.

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Thanks to all who have responded. A lot of great drills and thoughts for her. We will do some drills starting this week. We have a few weeks before her next event so lots of time to practice.

 

I have a digital level so I might do some basic Aim Point training. I never even knew what Aim Point was called until I read this today and did some Googling. I was playing a round at Troon North and by chance was playing with a lady who was a retired golf coach. She showed me the basics of straddling the line and using your fingers to determine an aim line after I had missed a few putts with bad reads. I think having a system in place that you can rely on as a basis for the read is a good idea. 

 

I have had the speed vs read (chicken vs egg) argument with my golfing buddies on the way to the course a few times. The best putter in our group claims read is more important, but he has naturally soft hands and never has problems with his speed. 

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45 minutes ago, hollabachgt said:

 

If your daughter makes 50% of her 10' putts, she'd rank in the top 20% on the PGA Tour. And this would be assuming the tournaments she's playing in is also using the PGA Tour's 3-4' consistent slope radius rule for their pin positions, which is not always the case for other events. Meaning even if she is a world class putter, it's hard to expect that she'll consistently pour in those 10' birdie putts under the heat of competition.

 

In my youth I was a traveling amateur, spending my summers traversing the country from event to event. I found that in my tournament prep I'd need to spend at least 3-4 hours on the putting green to tune my eyes and hands to the greens. But the ability for me to effectively perform on a new set of greens was still predicated in my fundamentals of reading greens that I developed on my home putting green. 

 

I said 10 ft putts but also could have said 3 putt avoidance.   It doesn't matter on the metrics I am talking about but playing difference greens on courses means you have to adjust.

 

The best putters have an ability to always have the correct speed when there putting the first time they walk and hit ball.   Anyone can master green reading pretty quick.  Having the correct speed on different greens is the hardest thing to do.

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1 minute ago, tiger1873 said:

 

I said 10 ft putts but also could have said 3 putt avoidance.   It doesn't matter on the metrics I am talking about but playing difference greens on courses means you have to adjust.

 

The best putters have an ability to always have the correct speed when there putting the first time they walk and hit ball.   Anyone can master green reading pretty quick.  Having the correct speed on different greens is the hardest thing to do.

going from 10' putts for birdie to 3 putt avoidance is a massive change in approach. If you're trying not to 3 putt from 10' I would agree that your speed control is most likely an area of great concern.

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14 minutes ago, hollabachgt said:

going from 10' putts for birdie to 3 putt avoidance is a massive change in approach. If you're trying not to 3 putt from 10' I would agree that your speed control is most likely an area of great concern.

 

Dude I used that as an example.  If you are not making  a decent percentage of 10 foot putts good chance your leaving a lot birdies out there and no one said putting is easy.  That's an area I am working on with my kid because I want her to make more birdies. The reason I said what I said is because I see a much higher percentage make rate on home course vs tournaments.  The difference in greens has been the biggest factor over the last 10 tournaments for score.

 

I would also guess this happens to a lot kids based on watching playing partners.  Just kind of what makes golf interesting and hard.

 

All the stats in world and drills are great but eventually you have to figure out why things don't drop.  

 

 

Edited by tiger1873
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1 hour ago, heavy_hitter said:

Aim Point really slows down rounds and can't stand when my kid is partnered with someone using it. 

If done properly, Aimpoint is just as fast as traditional green-reading.  No looking from behind the hole, no looking from the low side, a simple walk along the line to sense the slope, stand at the ball and fine the line, then stroke it.  Slow players are slow, no matter how they read the greens.

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5 minutes ago, davep043 said:

If done properly, Aimpoint is just as fast as traditional green-reading.  No looking from behind the hole, no looking from the low side, a simple walk along the line to sense the slope, stand at the ball and fine the line, then stroke it.  Slow players are slow, no matter how they read the greens.

I don't disagree.  I know from experience in the Junior golf world, specifically from Orlando, kids take way too much time reading the greens.  Makes it miserable playing rounds with them.

Edited by heavy_hitter
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Wanted to pass this along as it may help. My son played in a tournament recently and it was a 2 day event. 1st day he had 42 putts...you read that correctly...42. That afternoon we hit the practice green and worked on 2 things.

 

1. He has always used aim point but never went as far as using his fingers for finding the aiming spot. He would just use his feet to verify the direction of the slope. He went back to using his fingers.

2. We found this video that really helped him with his alignment.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7RrP1DtM3o&t=894s 

 

The next round he had 32 putts and no 3-putts. 

 

He still has a long ways to go to get better but these two things really helped him and may help your golfer as well.

 

 

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