There is a green reading style out there for everyone. With the AimPoint method becoming increasingly popular among competitive golfers and the rise of products like the Strackaline green guides, the average golfer can become extremely overwhelmed in just trying to figure out how to make more putts.

So, what do you do? Do you go out and purchase the newest, most cutting-edge technology or do you continue to listen to the age-old theories of the guy who has played your home course every day for the past 50 years and claims that all putts break toward the creek and away from the mountain?

There is something to be said for the old guy’s legends, but again, many of the green-reading methods popular today are backed by more than just hearsay; they have science on their sides. Strackaline and similar companies use laser-scanning technology in order to create a topographical map of the green. AimPoint is a method of green reading with an impressive reputation: it is used by 200 touring professionals and has 65 professional wins. Plumb Bobbing is a more controversial method of green reading because a green often has multiple slopes that intersect, however it does use the putter to create a straight line as a basis to find the general slope of a putt.

The thing is, no green reading theory works without one key element: confidence. The reason AimPoint works so well for those who use it is because it gives them that extra bout of reassurance that this idea has been tested by experts.  Plot twist: some of those guys you see putting their fingers in the air and squinting one eye are doing it completely wrong, but at some point it doesn’t matter. It helps that player pick a read and commit to it because when you do that, odds are you are going to hit a decent putt. The same goes for the Plumb Bob method…which I still know nothing about. Using any of these does not mean that you are going to make every putt you look at from here on out. At the same time, not using them doesn’t mean you’re going to miss everything, either. 

Personally, I putt best in tournament play with a caddie by my side for the same reason aforementioned: reassurance. It’s certainly nice to have someone walking around with you and confirming all of your reads for the day. But when that doesn’t happen, the best thing you can do for yourself is be confident in the line you chose, regardless of the method you used to get there. Your best putts will come from committed putting strokes. Your worst are probably the result of a hesitant stroke to a target you weren’t so sure about.

Put simply, whatever you do, you have to be fully committed to the line you are going to take. Whether it’s because your laser-scanned green guide says so or you just have a gut feeling sent straight from the golf gods themselves, go at it full force.  No method is fool-proof, so you have to find the one that works best for you. The best putters aren’t always the best putters. Sometimes they’re just the most confident ones. 

Paying a bunch of money to learn how to read greens won’t help you if you don’t fix your putting stroke anyway. Might as well keep it simple.

Kayla Jones

Kayla is a professional golfer on the LPGA Symetra Tour and the Women’s All-Pro Tour. She has played professionally overseas on the Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour as well. Kayla graduated from Florida State University after playing all 4 years on the golf team there. Go Noles.