Keys to Putting well on fast greens

Key number 1. Try to leave the easiest putt

One of the keys to putting well on fast greens is to leave yourself in the best positions on the green.  This does not mean that you need to hit it within 5 feet every time, it means understanding the contours of the green around the pin.

I would much rather have a 15 foot uphill putt with relatively little break, than an 8 footer down a steep hill.  On a fast green it is nearly impossible to get the downhill putt to stop especially if it has any side break to it.

There’s a reason when you watch the PGA tour on TV the announcers are always making a comment on when a player leaves the putt below the hole.  It is simply a much easier putt to execute.  Leaving it below the hole allows you to be more aggressive because the slope works in favor.  It will slow down quicker as it nears the hole.  Because you can hit it harder, you can also play for less break.

Key number 2. Soft hands, light grip pressure

Fast greens may make you a bit more nervous, especially if you’ve got anything on the line.  Nerves increase tension in the hands and that causes your fingers to lose some feeling.  As a result you grip the putter more tightly.  You may not notice it because of the reduced feeling in your hands, but you do need to be aware of it.  Keeping the grip light on the putter will provide more feel, allow for a natural release of the putter, and have a better chance of stroking the putt on line.  You’re speed will be better and even if you don’t make the putts you will usually leave yourself stress free tap ins.  It is so discouraging to have an 8 foot putt on fast green and leave yourself another 8 footer coming back because you hit it too hard.  Keep the grip light and you will see that scenario greatly reduced.

Key number 3.  Read the right amount of break

Putts on fast greens will break more than on slow greens.  Putts on slow greens will break much less than on fast greens.  This is good to know especially if you play lots of different courses.  Understanding how the speed of the greens affects break is a big key to making more putts in general.  For fast greens spend some time on the practice green at the course you will play.  Try putts of different breaks and distances and get a feel.  You want to see how the different breaks react.  Having this information in the back of your head will really help you when it’s time to putt out on the course.

Key number 4. Trust your instincts

Indecision will hurt your putting, but if you follow the keys above and commit to the shot, then you can be reasonably assured that you will hit good putts.  If you don’t trust your instincts you’re likely to hit decelerating putts that will be way short, or you’ll blast the putt through the break and way past the hole leaving difficult come back putts.  Commit to your speed and your read.  You can’t be indecisive and non-committal and putt well.

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