Become an Expert in Green Reading

We have all been there when it comes to green reading and you're behind a putt and unsure of how your putt is going to break. Well if you're reading the line of your putt from behind the ball and behind the hole you are not reading the green.

What do I mean by this?

When you stand behind a putt and read only from behind the ball and/or behind the hole, you aren't getting a read considered accurate.

In order to accurately read a green you will need to understand fall lines.

Fall lines are individual draining lines where water would flow if it were to be poured on a green. If you have ever watched a PGA Tour event and seen the simulation on the telecast what balls would do when it hits certain points of the green and roll off, those are fall lines.

Fall Line

Understanding where a fall line runs through a hole would be your next big cheating piece of information to help you understand the breaks around the hole.

Here's an example, on a flat planar section of a green with the hole in the middle water will run from the high anchor point to the low anchor point through the hole.

Putting Fall Lin

Once you have established where the fall line runs through the hole you can now predict how putts are going to react around the hole.

For any putt on the right side of the fall line on a planar section of the green like the example above, your putt is going to break right to left from the ball. If your ball is resting to the left of the fall line then your putt is going to break from left to right from the ball.

The next step would be to break this portion of the green into a clock visual.

Clock Visual of Fall Line

Fall Line Clock Puttin

By doing this you have now figured out where your downhill breaking putts are and uphill breaking putts are. Also, you now know where your maximum breaking putts are too which are at 3 and 9.

Breaks Around Fall Line

Here is a demonstration of breaks from around the clock.

Breaking Putt

As you can see that the further you get away from the fall line the more the putt is going to break, and the closer you are to the fall line the straighter the putt.

Another thing to point out here is if your ball rests above the 3 and 9 you will have a downhill putt. If it is below 3 and 9 it will be an uphill putt. The reason why 3 and 9 are your maximum breaking putts is because the ball first goes up hill then downhill.

Now you have a blueprint on how your putt is going to break once you find out where you are in relation to the fall line.

Finding The Fall Line

To help you further in finding the fall line you will need to refer to Mark Sweeney's green reading method. Mark, the founder of AimPoint Technologiessays, "when you think you have found the general area of the fall line go out to where you think 8 or 4 o'clock is and start walking in a semi circle from 4 to 8 or vice versa."

As you do this be sure you're walking a medium pace like you would if you were walking down the street. The key here is while you are walking from 4 to 8 you'll notice from 4-6 that you're walking downhill then you will transition to walking uphill from 6-8.

That transition point from walking downhill to uphill is where you will find the fall line.

Once you master finding the fall line your next step should be practicing hitting putts from each number around the clock to get a feel for how much or less the putt breaks.

One of the biggest secrets with this green reading style is that you will be able to read the putt backwards from the hole. This is huge because the last couple of feet of the putt is where the ball slows and has the most break.

In order for you to make your read count you will need to be good at delivering your putt at a consistent speed into the cup. To do this it would be wise to follow the information outlined in Putting Speed

By knowing how the ball is going to react approaching the hole you are now a step closer to becoming an excellent green reader.

Return From Green Reading to Putting Tips

Return From Green Reading to Bo Knows Golf Tips

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Bo, I wanted to thank you for your help so far with my golf game. I wanted to let you know that I shot a 75 the other day in a tournament round, my best round ever. I had 32 total putts and NO 3 putts. I definitely couldn't have done that before. Thanks again and I'll be back in touch soon to get some more lessons lined up.


Bo I just wanted to tell you about another tournament I played in. I went out and played and shot a 75 which is one of my best rounds this year so I think everything is coming together. I've been making alot of birdies lately and just wanted to thank you for everything!

Adam Mikhalko

Hey Bo when I got back from camp I played really well I’m putting great and I’m hitting the ball well. Thank you for everything at camp.


Hey Bo!!! I have been playing my best in golf, mostly because of you!!! two days ago I shot an 80 in my club tourney and came in 3rd place.

Brandtley Taylor

I played in a tournament when I got back from camp and shot 76 and came in fourth. I feel much more confident on the course with my mental thoughts. I used the tips you wrote down on that sheet and they have helped me alot.

Freddy Weber