It’s like putting on glass.
Putt on your hardwood floors. That’s what they’re like.
That’s how many have described the greens at Augusta National Golf Club during the week of the Masters. Having been lucky enough to attend the Masters over a dozen times, I have actually witnessed players during practice rounds, drop a ball on the back of the ninth green from about chest height and then watch as it gains speed and eventually comes to rest some 50 yards away at the bottom of the hill that fronts the green.
Chances are the average golfer isn’t likely to face a situation with greens that are that fast, but when you do encounter greens that are much faster than what you’re used to, here are some things to consider, courtesy of PGA Professional Jeff Martin, the head professional at Norton Country Club in Norton, Mass.
“The biggest thing to keep in mind on really fast greens — I’m talking like 13-13 1/2 on the Stimp meter — is that there’s always going to be more break,” Martin told us. “You’ve got to play a lot more break than normal.”
Next, Martin explained, is remembering to release your putter. It might sound elementary, but it’s something you really need to pay attention to.
“Because fast greens sort of put that fear factor in you, you might have a tendency to leave the blade open at impact. If you’re a right-handed golfer, this means you’re going to miss everything out to the right. The opposite goes for lefties. No matter how fast the greens, you want to make sure you’re squaring up that putter face.”
The most important factor when putting on any green, but especially super fast ones, is speed — as in the speed with which your golf ball is traveling to the hole.
To get a feel for locking down the speed, Martin uses a very specific drill that you might want to put in place.
“Head out to the practice green and instead of taking three golf balls, just take one,” Martin said. “Let’s face it, when you have three golf balls, you’re going to make adjustments if you hit that first one way short or way long. With just one ball — from a variety of distances — you’re really going to focus in on the speed and how hard or how gentle you need to hit that putt. Test yourself with one ball. It’s simple, but often overlooked.