Another rain shortened week, as it rained pretty much all day on Saturday. The three rounds I played were as up and down as the weather, with scores of 81, 73 and 84 today. Putting has been the big problem but ball striking today was not exactly superb. Since my game is in a state of limbo, I thought I would write about a subject that is strictly mental and certainly has nothing to do with swinging a golf club and that is green reading. Now I have read all the books and watched a lot of instruction on TV, concerning reading greens but it still can be one of the most mystifying and frustrating parts of golf. I can deal with over reading or under reading the break of a putt, but when I think a putt is going to break 3 inches to the left and it breaks right then that can really leave me bewildered and deflated. Now even though we see on TV, that the tour pros can misread a putt, one thing that they do, is they spend a lot more time than we can in actually reading the putt. They look from behind the hole, to the side, and from behind the ball. In fact, despite what you read about getting on the side below the hole to get a feel for the distance of the putt, the pros do a 360 around the line of the putt almost every time. If we took that much time to read our putts then every round would be of the 5 and 1/2 hour variety. Now I don’t know if it would even help, if we took that much time in reading our putts. Your never going to read in any instruction book to take that much time in reading putts, because of the slow play issue. Let’s face it, that is where the tour game really slows down, when it comes to reading putts. Are greens that diabolical or are we making something hard that may not be all that difficult. No matter what method you use to read greens, when you are finish, there are one of three things that are going to happen.
1. You know how this putt is going to break and you are right, make a confident stroke and the ball goes in.
2 You know how this putt is going to break and you are wrong, make a confident stroke and miss.
3. You are unsure how the putt is going to break and you have to do something, so you try to commit to a line, make a tentative stroke and most likely miss the putt.
Now you can do 2 and 3 for only so long and you will begin to lose confidence and your putting begins to fall apart. Right now I do not see a solution to this problem. I’m not saying there isn’t one. I just don’t see it for right now. Yes, I know all the green reading rhetoric. Start reading the green from 20 to 30 yards out, it breaks toward the water, it breaks away from the mountain, there is a high point on the golf course and everything breaks away from that, and the grain grows toward the setting sun. My favorite is the one about water being poured on the green and you visualize where it is going to puddle and flow. Doesn’t that make you want to visit golf courses when it is pouring rain and take pictures of all the greens that are covered with water. So, green reading is a problem that must be solved if one is going to play to his full potential. The mental madness was more like just madness this week. Another week awaits and the weather is looking better. Maybe I will take 5 minutes to read every putt. How to become the most popular golfer in your group in just one easy lesson.