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Pros Testing Advanced Green-Reading Tool at Pinehurst Open

Last Updated: July, 8 2024
Pros Testing Advanced Green-Reading Tool at Pinehurst Open

As the 2024 U.S. Open gets underway at famed Pinehurst Resort and Country Club No. 2, some touring professionals are equipped with an advanced green-reading technique aimed at taming the course's notoriously undulating putting surfaces.

 

According to a report from on-site at Pinehurst, players like Joel Dahmen and Tom Hoge have been practicing a method developed by renowned putting coach Ralph Bauer. It allows golfers to physically measure slope angles rather than relying solely on feel.

 

Ross Kinnaird

 

The process involves using a standard level to find a flat lie on the practice green. From there, a ruler is anchored to the turf and the golfer calibrates how their putterhead moves relative to the line at increments of one, two and three percent slope.

 

"It's a really simple way to read the greens more accurately, because you're using gravity to your advantage," Bauer said. He says it takes about 10 minutes for each player to understand their putter's unique readings based on loft and length.

 

"It takes about 10 minutes to calibrate, and then once you understand what your putter does, you'll know until you decide to switch putters again," Bauer says.

 

Ralph Bauer demonstrates

 

Once calibrated, the technique can be replicated on-course by selecting a reference spot and observing how the leading edge falls away from level on putts downhill versus uphill.

 

While still requiring judgment in application, proponents argue it provides a more definitive understanding of break severity. It also removes ambiguity about left versus right breaks.

 

Pinehurst greens are amongst the most undulating putting surfaces on the PGA Tour schedule, playing smaller than they appear due to severe sloping in all directions. The additional precision in reading could help navigate the surfaces under major championship pressure.

 

If players see positive results utilizing the approach this week, it may inspire wider adoption, similar to how plumb bobs and lasers have transformed on-green routines previously. Success could come down to those most adept at using all tools available.

 

 

Read more: Scottie Scheffler Favored to Win 2024 U.S. Open at Pinehurst

 

How to do the green-reading technique

 

1. Use a leveling device to find a flat lie on the practice green. This establishes a reference point from which slopes can be measured.

 

2. Place a ruler or other straight-edge measuring tool securely on the ground so it is anchored in place. The ruler acts as the reference line.

 

3. Stand behind the ruler in your normal putting stance, with your feet around shoulder-width apart.

 

4. Hold your putter in your normal putting grip position, with the head extending below your legs between your feet.

 

5. Dangle the butt of the putter grip so that the leading edge of the putterhead is directly below it.

 

6. Note where along the ruler's edge the leading edge of the putterhead comes to rest under gravity's pull. Mark this point.

 

7. Repeat steps 3-6 while standing 1%, 2% and 3% sloped lies established using the level as a guide.

 

8. Compare how gravity draws the putterhead away from the reference line on the ruler between flat and sloped stances.

 

9. Repeat as needed to understand how your specific putter is affected by various slope severities.

 

10. Use learned readings on-course by Eyeballing putterhead movement off reference points.

 

How does the Tour Read system compare to AimPoint in terms of accuracy

 

Tour Read System:

 

  • Uses a smartphone app that precisely measures slope angle with image recognition technology
  • Provides an objective digital readout of slope percentage
  • Combines slope read with distance and green speed inputs to calculate exact break point
  • Offers a numerical target for pace and line of the putt

 

AimPoint Express:

 

  • Estimates slope angle through a proprioceptive feel method (finger counting)
  • Relies on a golfer's perception and sense memory developed through practice
  • Provides an angled feel-based estimation rather than an exact slope percentage
  • Requires consistent accuracy in proprioceptive abilities from person to person
  • Accuracy improves with experience but is ultimately based on feel calibration

 

Key Differences:

 

  • Tour Read Prioritizes an exact numerical read whereas AimPoint emphasizes feel-based intuition
  • Tour Read eliminates human error in slope perception but AimPoint cultivates green-reading sensory skills
  • Tour Read is more consistent between users but AimPoint proficiency varies based on individual senses
  • Tour Read excels in precise targeting but AimPoint cultivates an internalized green-reading instinct


 

References: https://www.golfdigest.com/story/new-way-read-greens-on-tour-read-legal-loophole

 


 

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Michael is an avid golfer himself, having played competitively in college. After graduating, he pursued a career in golf course management and travel writing. He has played and reviewed hundreds of golf courses globally, and is considered an expert on golf course architecture, playing conditions, and the best golf destinations for travelers. His articles provide golfers with valuable insights to plan their next golf vacation.

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