With the most prestigious golf tournament on the planet taking place this week, the US Masters, now is a good time to look at how to putt on fast greens.
The Augusta National, home of the US Masters, is renowned for having some of the fastest greens of any golf course in the world. The professional players who have been lucky enough to play in the US Masters have faced putting on greens reading more than 13 or 14 on the Stimpmeter.
While the average amateur player is not going to face greens playing at that speed, it is possible to go from playing regularly on one course where the greens measure 7.5 on the Stimpmeter to a course where the greens measure 10 on the Stimpmeter.
So, what can you do when faced with putting on fast greens?
Firstly, do your homework before taking to the golf course. Find out where the pins are placed and work out the best position for your approach shot. If the green is sloping severely down from front to back, you do not want to leave your ball on the front of the green. Your putt could easily run well beyond the hole and leave you three putting. Instead, aim for the back of the green and putt uphill, with an aggressive stroke.
The faster the green the more break it will have because even the smallest slope will have an impact on your ball. Play your putts with more break and always aim for the high side of the hole. If your ball drifts below the hole, it does not have any chance of dropping in and could race away.
Many players, when they are nervous about making a putt on a fast green, will grip the putter tightly. Doing this will leave you without the feel and touch required to make a good putt on a fast green. A light grip will help you judge the feel and pace of the putt and keep it on line.
Although you should aim to keep the ball below the hole on fast greens, there are times when you will find yourself above the hole. In this situation, you will be fearing the ball drifting five feet beyond the hole, leaving you with a testing second putt. To help with this, try hitting the ball with the toe of the putter, as this will deaden the ball at impact. However, if you are thinking about employing this technique you should practice it first, to gain an understanding of how your ball will react.
Maintaining posture is a key element to putting successfully on a fast green. If you find you are pushing your putt to the right on fast greens it may be because you are losing your posture during the stroke. Try to keep the back of your neck still during the putt as this will ensure your head stays down.